‘Ancestors are with us’: Wild buffalo stampede North Dakota pipeline protest (VIDEOS)
While demonstrators and police faced off during a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, a rather unexpected show of force emerged - a thundering herd of buffalo.
A stampede near the Standing Rock protest camp prompted cries of joy from the Standing Rock Sioux.
Footage of the moment, understood to have occurred on Thursday, shows a protester is being interviewed before stopping when spotting the herd of wild buffalo in the distance.
The Standing Rock Sioux had been reportedly praying for help in the midst of the standoff , US Uncut reports.
“The ancestors are with us,” said Myron Dewey, who uploaded video footage of the stampede to Facebook.
Buffalo are revered as symbols of sacrifice in Native American culture. Indigenous people believe the animals, which are also known as “Tatanka Oyate” or “Buffalo Nation,” sacrifice themselves in order to supply their meat and their hides for people.
At least 117 demonstrators have been arrested in North Dakota as protesters continue to protest against construction of the controversial pipeline, which will cut through Native American land. Protesters say its construction will destroy sacred sites and have a negative impact on the region’s water supplies.
In a statement from the tribe’s chairman, David Archambault II, the leader condemned what he called the recent “militarized law enforcement” against protesters.
“Militarized law enforcement agencies moved in on water protectors with tanks and riot gear today,” he said. “We continue to pray for peace. We call on the state of North Dakota to oversee the actions of local law enforcement to, first and foremost, ensure everyone’s safety.”