Standing Rock tribal leaders gathered indoors to honor and thank several thousand military veterans who traveled to North Dakota to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The vets, who traveled by foot, bus, car and plane to the area, gathered also to apologize to the tribe for the mistreatment Indians received from the government since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Island in 1620.

Vets from Fort Belknap, Fort Peck and the Little Shell Tribe are among the thousands of vets gathered.

Energy Transfer Partners, which is building the pipeline, said it will continue to push for the pipeline’s construction.

Tribal members were upbeat but cautious about the decision Monday and thanked all the veterans for coming to help.

“We know DAPL will continue,” said tribal elder Phyllis Young, referring to an old prophecy that warned the Lakota Sioux about a huge black snake that would one day cross the land.

 A woman offers cleansing smoke during a ceremony with military veterans and Native Americans on a closed bridge outside the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., on Monday. (Photo: AP Photo/David Goldman)

Arvol Looking Horse, a Lakota spiritual leader and keeper of the nation’s sacred pipe and bundle, told the veterans they helped make history with the tribe.

“This is the first time in more than 150 years that the Oceti Sakowin Camp has been set up,” he said. Oceti Sakowin refers to the Seven Council Fires or the seven bands of the Sioux Nation.

“Thank you for coming and answering the call,” Looking Horse added.

Photo: Lakota People's Law Project Dec 6, 2016

 Photo: Lakota People's Law Project

 Photo: Lakota People's Law Project

 Photos: Lakota People's Law Project

 Photo: (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Steven Paul, a Nez Perce Native American from Portland, Ore., drums during a march with military veterans and tribal elders outside the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered in Cannon Ball, N.D. (Photo: AP Photo/David Goldman)


US veterans took part in a prayer ceremony, during which they've apologized for historical detrimental conduct by the military toward Native Americans.

Salon published Clark’s apology to the Natives, which read as follows:

"Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faced of our presidents onto your sacred mountain."

"When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness."

This was a historically symbolic gesture forgiving centuries of oppression against Natives and honoring their partnership in defending the land from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Chief Leonard Crow Dog offered forgiveness and urged for world peace, responding that “we do not own the land, the land owns us.”

Leonard Crow Dog, a Lakota elder and highly-regarded activist, left, places his hand over Wesley Clark Jr.’s head during a forgiveness ceremony for veterans

Photographer Josh Morgan was on the scene and collected the series of intimate photographs

More than 500 people participate in a forgiveness ceremony for veterans on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Monday.

Veterans receive a blessing of sage during a healing ceremony hosted by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe as water protectors continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, in Fort Yates, North Dakota.
 Gen. Wesley Clark Jr., middle, and other veterans kneel in front of Leonard Crow Dog during a forgiveness ceremony at Standing Rock

 Veterans receive a blessing of sage during a healing ceremony

 U.S. Air Force veteran Virginia McIntyre, left, shakes hands with chief Arvol Looking Horse

U.S. Army Veterans Tih Kobolson, left, and Aloysious Bell, walk around with a ceremonial smudge stick and feathers 

 U.S. Army veterans Aloysious Bell, left, and Tie Kobolson, hold ceremonial feathers and a smudge stick

 Veteran Tatiana McLee wipes tears from her eyes as she films Lakota elders speak during the forgiveness ceremony.

 Maria D. Michael, a Lakota elder from San Fransisco, embraces veteran Tatiana McLee during an emotional forgiveness ceremony

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"The whole world is watching," said Miles Allard, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux. "I'm telling all our people to stand up and not to leave until this is over."

 Despite the deadline, authorities say they won't forcibly remove the water protectors

The company constructing the pipeline, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, released a statement Sunday night slamming the Army Corps' decision as politically motivated and alleging that President Barack Obama's administration was determined to delay the matter until he leaves office.

"The White House's directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency," the company said.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Sunday that the Department of Justice will "continue to monitor the situation"

Carla Youngbear of the Meskwaki Potawatomi tribe made her third trip from central Kansas to be at the sacred site.

"I have grandchildren, and I'm going to have great grandchildren," she said. "They need water. Water is why I'm here."

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, whose department has done much of the policing for the protests, said that "local law enforcement does not have an opinion" on the easement and that his department will continue to "enforce the law."

Some veterans will take part in a prayer ceremony Monday, during which they'll apologize for historical detrimental conduct by the military toward Native Americans and ask for forgiveness, Clark said. He also called the veterans' presence "about right and wrong and peace and love."

A Veteran prays

A response statement from Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics said the corporations remain “fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe.

Organizers continue to call for every day of December to be “a day of #NoDAPL action” against the investors of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Over 100 solidarity actions worldwide have already been registered for the coming weeks as the encampment continues to stand their ground.

That uncertainty, Allard said, is part of the reason the protesters won't leave.
Lakota man prays for wate

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their beloved Water Protectors celebrated a "victory" Sunday after federal authorities halted construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it had denied the final easement required for the $3.8 billion project to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The Army said it will now explore alternative routes pending an environmental impact study.

The Standing Rock Sioux, which had been joined in a months-long protest by environmental, human rights and social justice activists, opposed the oil pipeline due to concerns over water contamination, environmental destruction and damage to ancestral sites.

“My hands go up to all the water protectors who have stood up to protect tribal treaty rights and to protect Mother Earth,” Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said in a statement Sunday. “Thank you for Standing For Standing Rock.”

Senator John Hoeven issued a scathing statement following the announcement that the Army Army Corps of Engineers’ under the Obama administration will refuse to grant an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline project, calling it a violation of the Rule of Law.

Images are from Getty

Black snake (DAPL) has forked tongue and two heads! Social media says celebrate today but stay vigilant

“DAPL says it will drill anyway — without a permit. Oceti Sakowin water protectors urged to stay in camp. The Army Corps of Engineers denied DAPL Permit! The announcement was made live in the Big Circle at Oceti Sakowin Camp, live on Standing Rock Spirit Resistance Radio. Now from the Camp: DAPL is expected to pay the fines and continue drililng without a permit. At Oceti Sakowin Camp, they urged people not to leave the camp, because DAPL might drill anyway, without a permit. “Stick around and make sure that doesn’t happen.” Twitter user commented the victory