Standing Rock is on fire — this is what camp looks like on its last day

Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic

STANDING ROCK, N.D. — Standing Rock is on fire.

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.

The Sacred Fire at Oceti Sakowin Camp the moment they announced the cessation of pipeline construction on Dec. 4, 2016 — and the first place the news was announced anywhere.
Source: Andrew Stern/Mic

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:

Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic
Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22, 2017
Source: Jack Smith IV/Mic

Tom McKay contributed additional reporting.

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Jack Smith IV

Jack Smith IV is a senior writer covering technology and inequality. Send tips, comments and feedback to jack@mic.com.

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