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FEATURING SIMON MOYA-SMITH – The US Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday announced a long-anticipated decision to refuse permission for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. In a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the Army said it will, “explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

Indigenous activists calling themselves “water protectors” have been on the front lines of the fight to preserve their water and land since April of this year. They have been subjected to a massive militarized police response and braved the freezing winter weather, determined to stand strong. Two thousand veterans have now offered their help to the movement.

While the US Army’s decision is a huge victory for the tribe and a testament to the power of political action, it remains to be seen if the fight is over or still in the beginning stages. Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline has said it will continue to build despite the Army Corps’ decision.

Read Simon’s work at www.ictmn.com and follow him on Twitter @simonmoyasmith.

Simon Moya-Smith, Culture Editor at Indian Country Today Media Network and a contributing writer at CNN.com.

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