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At Standing Rock

Writer Marcus Ellsworth and producer Kasia Mychajlowycz travel to the site of the #nodapl protests in North Dakota

Update: (12/4/16, 8:53 p.m. ET): Sunday evening, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a statement that they will not grant the easement to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to be run under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. MTV News reached out to Eryn Wise, media coordinator for the Sacred Stone Camp, to get her thoughts on this development. "We're thrilled," she said. "We feel validated in our efforts. Not that we needed validation, but we definitely feel seen and we definitely feel heard. And that's something our people definitely are not used to." Wise said that the water protectors plan to remain in their camps at least through January 1. Wise also made it clear that, even if this is the beginning of the end for the Dakota Access Pipeline, there is no end in sight for this movement. "We're going to go to the next pipeline, and we're going to shut that one down. We're going to keep going, because it is our job to protect this earth and that's what we intend to do." Look for more on this story in next week's edition of “The Stakes.”

For months, protesters have been camping out in North Dakota to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion project that will transport oil across four states. Supporters state that the pipeline will bring millions of dollars to the area, create jobs, and decrease U.S. reliance on foreign oil; opponents want to protect sacred Standing Rock Sioux sites that pipeline construction could destroy, and worry about potential contamination of the Missouri River if a rupture were to happen. The protest camps have grown to house several thousands of people from all over the country, including members from hundreds of different tribes. Now they’re facing pressure from authorities who say everyone must leave the camp by December 5.

MTV News writer Marcus Ellsworth and podcast producer Kasia Mychajlowycz traveled to the Oceti Sakowin Camp, a large allegiance of smaller camps containing an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 people, to talk to water protectors, volunteers, and allies about why they’re standing up against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and what they’ll do when December 5 rolls around.

Voices featured in this show include Eva Cardenas, André Perez, George Pletnikoff Jr., Andre Nunez, and Liz George.

You can learn more about the mission of the Oceti Sakowin Camp as well as donate to their efforts at ocetisakowincamp.org. To learn more about the Indigenous Peoples Power Project, visit ip3action.org.

This episode of “The Stakes” was produced by Kasia Mychajlowycz, Michael Catano, James T. Green, and Mukta Mohan and is part of the MTV Podcast Network. You can subscribe to our show and other fine MTV Podcasts productions on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.


VMAs 2017