A protester against the controversial Dakota Access pipeline project takes a stand before law enforcement officers Oct. 27 as police and other forces attempt to force activists from a camp set up in the path of pipeline construction near Cannon Ball, N.D. (James MacPherson / AP)
More than a million people around the U.S. have “checked in” via Facebook to Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Cannon Ball, N.D. While this began as an attempt to confuse Morton County Sheriff’s Department officials thought to be digitally surveilling activists, the check-ins morphed into a collective gesture of solidarity. They are also a measure of how deeply the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fight over the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) resonates with the American public. A similar measure is apparent in how crowd-funding campaigns set up by activists have far outpaced their funding goals—one effort to raise $5,000 ended up generating more than $1 million. Americans who are unable to physically lend their support are eager to participate in some way in the struggle against the pipeline that one New York Times op-ed writer equates with the Keystone XL pipeline fight
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