He riffed on events of the day, staring solemnly into the camera, and streamed footage of pipeline construction being carried out. On October 8, he launched his drone toward a 20-mile buffer zone instituted by a court injunction, which he believed DAPL was violating, and the wife of a National Guard member accused him of stalking. Dewey was charged.

“This is nothing new for indigenous people, the way we were treated by the officers,” he said, recalling the time they tailed him through the entire reservation. (“Hello, Myron,” he remembers them saying on a few occasions after pulling him over.) He also recounts with pride his recent livestream interview with Kyle Thompson, the infamous contractor employed by Leighton Security Services, who first attempted to infiltrate the encampment, then pointed a loaded AR-15 at water protectors after his truck was run off the road. (Brennon Nestacio, the Pueblo water protector who talked him down and convinced him to hand over his clip, was charged with “felony terrorizing” over the incident but recently had this charge dismissed.)


“The way things were portrayed to me, with the propaganda and everything—that really heightened my sense of how dangerous things could be,” said Thompson in the livestream, of his behavior that day. And countering this propaganda was exactly why Dewey was so devoted to his work—and so enamored with his drone. Yet, he noted to me, “Thompson got off completely scot free.” Thompson was arrested, but never charged.

“I feel a lot better, but I feel guilty that I feel better too, because I know that many more people, hundreds more people, are still going through this,” Dewey said of his own case being dismissed. Still, the emotional effects will continue to linger. “I had all this anxiety from all I had witnessed,” he said, describing being approached recently by an officer in Wyoming. “It just hit me all of a sudden. I couldn’t find my ID or my registration.” He started stuttering. He was having a panic attack. Then he realized what was happening, explained himself to the officer and calmed himself down. He and other water protectors have spoken publicly about experiencing PTSD from being constantly harassed.


But one year after it began, Dewey also thinks back wistfully upon the movement at Standing Rock. “The unity, the love, the passion for people who didn’t even know each other—that was the most beautiful part,” he said. “It was such hardship. But it was also very special.”