As police prepare to raid Oceti Sakowin Camp on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m., the water protectors clear out what remains of the former front lines of the struggle, demolishing some structures and burning others ceremoniously to commemorate the camp and its former inhabitants.
Other camps have been established in the past few months, with new sacred fires lit farther from police lines. The tribal government has asked protesters to leave while they try legal measures to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline; the water protectors still at the camps stand resolute.
With the smell of burning wood and insulation in the air, and only a few hundred water protectors still at the camp, someone will occasionally shout the signature cry of the Standing Rock resistance: "Mni waconi," or "water is life."
Off in the distance, protesters shout back in solidarity, "Mni waconi."
Just weeks ago, as protesters celebrated a short-lived victory over the pipeline's proponents before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the camp was packed with thousands of protesters.
Now, just a few holdouts stand at a lonely vigil. These photos show the camp on its last day, as police are expected to sweep through, arresting anyone they find left on premises:
Tom McKay contributed additional reporting.
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