A group of Santa Barbara City College students traveled to Standing Rock in North Dakota and are recounting their journey.
The trip lasted four days and resulted in some incredible images.
Nouchee Vang, Ryan Weitzel and Daniel Cornejo Reyes shot the footage for a documentary.
The students were accompanied by Sheila Brucelas, who had already spent time at Standing Rock camps.
The students said the thousands of protesters were peaceful.
“They don’t even like to be called protesters. They like to be called water protectors,” said Karina Vazquez.
“People need to get out there and realize, this is happening to the natives again. It’s always happened. History always repeats itself,” said Weitzel.
The people gathered at Standing Rock are trying to stop Energy Transfer Partners from putting an oil pipeline through native burial grounds.
“They’ve been asked to stop drilling, but the drilling continues,” Brucelas said.
Protesters are also trying to protect the Missouri River–a main water source for the Sioux tribe and millions of others.
“Everyone is unarmed and we just go with a lot of bodies to block the authorities from trying to get through to the reservation, to the other side,” Brucelas said.
The students said the site was calm during their trip, but days earlier authorities sprayed people with tear gas and water.
“The only violence or action taken against people were from DAPL and the police and the military,” Vazquez said.
Students said the protesters are planning to stay put, even as freezing temperatures and snowfall set in.
“People are definitely winterizing. There is definitely a lot of teepees and yurts. People are ready to hold it down through the winter,” Brucelas said.
The students will soon begin editing all of their footage into a documentary about Standing Rock which will be screened at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival through a partnership with Youth CineMedia. According to the SBIFF website, Youth CineMedia is a local non-profit that teaches documentary filmmaking to diverse children, teens, and young adults from urban and rural communities; with projects focusing on the environment, culture, and social justice issues.
The Standing Rock documentary will be screened during the festival in February.
To learn more about Youth CineMedia, click here.