7 moving photos of veterans and Standing Rock elders who united at forgiveness ceremony

7 moving photos of veterans and Standing Rock elders who united at forgiveness ceremony
Source: AP
Source: AP

It was an emotional and tearful night on Monday.

Native Americans held a forgiveness ceremony at the Standing Rock casino for U.S. veterans who have been standing in solidarity with the movement to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The ceremony, with over 500 people in attendance, resulted in Native American elders forgiving veterans for hundreds of years of oppression.

One veteran stood out from the rest. Wesley Clark Jr., the son of a former NATO supreme commander and retired U.S. Army general, spoke to the group of veterans to atone for the U.S. military's treatment of indigenous people, Salon reported.

Here are Clark Jr.'s remarks:


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 faces 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.


Chief Leonard Crow Dog, a spiritual leader for the Lakota tribe, ceremoniously forgave Clark Jr. In addition to calling for world peace, Leonard Crow Dog insisted they were indebted to the land.

"We do not own the land, the land owns us."

Here are photos capturing the beautiful and historic gesture:

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Sarah A. Harvard

Sarah is a staff writer covering religion, race and politics. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, and VICE. Send tips and feedback: sharvard@mic.com

MORE FROM

What does Sean Spicer’s resignation mean for the rest of Trump’s inner circle?

Many are already wondering if Spicer's departure could portend more shakeups to come.

How the messy New York City subways are hurting vulnerable New Yorkers the most

The New York subway system is a mess — and here's who's suffering the most.

Is Sean Spicer the shortest-serving White House press secretary in history?

Spicer served just six months as press secretary — there are some cabinet members in White House history who have served mere days.

5 stories from this week that aren't about OJ Simpson or Sean Spicer

The White House will be forced to release logs from Mar-a-Lago, and Democrats finally have an agenda.

According to Anthony Scaramucci’s Twitter, he believes in climate change and voted for Barack Obama

He also supports same-sex marriage. And abortion rights.

Trump is reportedly looking into pardoning himself. Here’s why that could backfire.

Can the president really pardon himself?

What does Sean Spicer’s resignation mean for the rest of Trump’s inner circle?

Many are already wondering if Spicer's departure could portend more shakeups to come.

How the messy New York City subways are hurting vulnerable New Yorkers the most

The New York subway system is a mess — and here's who's suffering the most.

Is Sean Spicer the shortest-serving White House press secretary in history?

Spicer served just six months as press secretary — there are some cabinet members in White House history who have served mere days.

5 stories from this week that aren't about OJ Simpson or Sean Spicer

The White House will be forced to release logs from Mar-a-Lago, and Democrats finally have an agenda.

According to Anthony Scaramucci’s Twitter, he believes in climate change and voted for Barack Obama

He also supports same-sex marriage. And abortion rights.

Trump is reportedly looking into pardoning himself. Here’s why that could backfire.

Can the president really pardon himself?