The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in western North Dakota has become a polarizing issue.
Anti-DAPL protests have escalated while president-elect Donald Trump has promised to promote oil and gas development and revive the Keystone XL pipeline project.
While some protesters have resorted to vandalism and desecration to convince Dakota Access and the state government their demands shouldn’t be ignored, many others have used art — including design, printmaking, painting and music — to empower residents of Standing Rock and challenge what they believe is a trespass on the dignity and safety of North Dakotans.
These artists’ contributions have included murals, posters, original songs and music videos, poetry and spoken-word recordings.
Additionally, several apparel companies have released t-shirts and other articles with anti-DAPL-inspired designs.
One company, the NTVS, works directly with Native American artists and offers limited releases of hats, T-shirts, sweaters and more. The proceeds from a recent limited release, “Defend the Sacred,” totaled over $4,500 and were donated to Standing Rock.
Until protesters, Dakota Access and the state government arrive at a compromise, anti-DAPL protest activity is likely to continue. Although the issue is divisive and finding common ground may be difficult, the current struggle has offered creative minds an opportunity to thrive.