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Articles by Xian Chiang-Waren

Xian Chiang-Waren is a Grist fellow.

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A view of the camp from Route 1806.

At sundown, Montgomery Brown meets me by the information tent. He has a paper plate piled with brownies in one hand and a toothbrush in the other. The 25-year-old youth organizer and Navy-trained combat medic from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been up since daybreak.

Brown and I walk past hand-painted “NO MEDIA” signs. We wander through a kitchen, where volunteers are chopping vegetables and boiling pots of soup over an open fire, past kids chasing each other in a game of tag. Clusters of towering white teepees and neon, synthetic tents hug the ground. They are grouped into small encampments for a half mile in every direction, around central fires that burn day and night and send plumes of smoke into the sky.

“Every time I walk around this camp,” Brown says, “… I hear those kids laughing and playing — it just reaffirms that I’m not just fighting for myself or my family. I’m fighting for everybody.”

Welcome to the camp that is ground zero for the pushback against America’s new mega-pipeline. Less than a mile upstream on both sides of the Missouri River, Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, has broken ground ... Read more

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