AWAKE: A Dream from Standing Rock

"I am not dreaming. I am awake. I've been woken from the spirit from inside that demanded I open my eyes and see the world around me." ~ Floris White Bull

Floris White Bull (above) and other water protector's experience standing against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Cannon Ball, North Dakota in 2016 is documented in the new documentary film "AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock." (Image from the film AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock captured by Ayşe Gürsöz)

By Katherine Locke

This was one hell of a protest

[ Editor’s Note: Although the North Dakota oil pipeline won in the courts, with Trump’s support fully behind the effort, the rest of us were not left with nothing. We got to see that a spontaneous protest movement could materialize quickly to oppose corporate power.

VT thanks all those involved in the fight who have kept the candle burning for the rest of us. We never could understand whey the pipeline people did not just reroute the pipeline away from the major water resources there. They wanted it their way, and got it.

The protest was a “two fer” for the rest of us as we will now get a film out of it. Usually when government and corporate power win they feel that concrete has been poured over the issue.

But having this film, which will go on the festival circuit, will keep the memory and issue alive to hopefully stimulate others ... Jim W. Dean ]

Jim's Editor’s Notes are solely crowdfunded via PayPal
Jim's work includes research, field trips, Heritage TV Legacy archiving & more. Thanks for helping. Click to donate >>

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — “AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock” is a collaborative documentary created in three chapters, each by a different filmmaker, that follows the rise of the peaceful resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

Eventually, thousands of activists and indigenous people from across the country converged on Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to stand in solidarity with the indigenous people, who call themselves water protectors, protesting the construction of the pipeline.

Floris White Bull, advisor and co-writer of the film, was one of the handful that initially went out to protest at the barricade. The tribe had received a two-week notice about the start of construction and White Bull said she spent those weeks worrying. She said more than half the time, she struggles to provide for her family and she did not know what she could do as one person against a billion dollar corporation.

“I was terrified,” White Bull said. “Not just on a personal level, but as a mother. That morning, I kissed my children and I was scared. I left my home that morning, and I said, if I could put my body there, that’s what I’m going to do. That’s all I have, that’s the only thing I have. And I was scared. That first fear is for yourself. And you have to put that aside knowing that it’s bigger than us. It’s more than just one person and I would put myself on the line to help and to make it better for my children, to try. I had to try. And that’s what we did.”

One of the startling things about the footage shot by Academy Award nominated filmmaker; activist Josh Fox and Academy Award nominated filmmaker James Spione and indigenous filmmaker and Digital Smoke Signals founder Myron Dewey is watching unarmed people in prayer confronted by police officers in full riot gear, tanks and weapons. Over and over again, people shout in the film, ‘We are unarmed,’ as police shoot rubber bullets or physically confront them.

On Thanksgiving Day, the protestors were sprayed with high powered hoses in freezing conditions, in fact, the film shows the police deliberately spraying people and a fire meant to keep the protestors warm, an event witnessed by not only the people in North Dakota but those watching on Facebook Live.

One of the directors, James Spione, said that Standing Rock was — and is — so much more than a protest.

“What began in North Dakota has become a worldwide rallying cry of resistance to corporate power and its relentless drive for profit at the expense of human needs, rights and dignity,” Spione said. “If we are to survive this century, it is the indigenous people who will lead the way forward.”

White Bull said that as the film travels the country for screenings, it is hard to watch it over and over again because the footage is so raw and immediate. The immersive documentary features emotional first-person accounts and gripping footage of militarized local police and private security teams confronting people and journalists with rubber bullets, mace, tear gas, water hoses and dogs.

But she also sees it as a call to action for everyone, especially indigenous people, who have earned the right to have their voices heard on behalf of the land, water and beings that are not able to speak for themselves.

“We have a voice and we have a say and we have a right to sit at the world table, that we have contributions, a way of seeing the world and our place in it that can heal the world that we’re hurting today,” White Bull said. “It’s a call to action to all people, all races to take responsibility for the world we’re going to leave and the impacts that we’re forcing other walks of life to incur.”

The pipeline, which was expedited by the Trump administration, now carries fracked oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields through sovereign land and under the Missouri River, the water source for the Standing Rock reservation and 17 million people downstream and the plant life where the tribe continues to gather traditional medicines and edible plants to sustain and heal themselves today.

White Bull said the protest was never just about one pipeline, rather it was about taking responsibility for their lives today and understanding that each life is impermanent but the impact people have on the land and environment lasts.

“We can’t just be passive anymore. . . .

Read more: New Film Follows Rise of Resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock


We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.


  1. Johnny, very reminiscent of the Trolls that hounded everyone that was supporting the 300+ tribes gathering for the peaceful demonstration. There were thousands of them, magically appearing on all youtube and facebook videos posted by warriors for the water. Later it was found they were members of Blackwater or Morton county sheriffs, or just meat heads, thinking the pipe was somehow going to enrich their racist lives.
    They were cowards one and all. Children, lashing out at anything that deconstructed their world view.
    I fought them. Everyone said, Don’t feed the Trolls, but I did anyway, because, ….

  2. Johnny, You display a poor understanding of the issue, and education is what I advocate to cure that.
    Try following ICMN for awhile, I’ll talk to you in a few years. Like I said before, I am not suitable for counseling you through your issues. Not my gig.

  3. But, if you want to know, no church gave me any money for my study, but the taxes on my land are by christian government policy used to make up for the tax deductions for churches, so financially speaking, I am forced to support religious buildings, parsonages, and tax free donations to christian luxury. Now, this , and they do not have to file the papers and take it, but they all do. Quite arrogantly I might add.

  4. Mathew,…”34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
    35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
    36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
    This is not spiritual text, it is war propaganda. The basis of Dominionism. Which was started by the Roman Catholics and faithfully carried out today, by hypocrites in every denomination. Also, the origin of media spin. If firefighters fight fire, and crime fighters fight crime, what do freedom fighters fight ?

  5. Johnny, I did not begin by opposing christianity. I spent 10 years researching an obscure aspect of scared text. That aspect is found in many cultures and it is always the same. That same aspect is also in the OT, and the basis for fraud, as it cannot be a coincidence. So I published it. Once I knew it was fraud, I started to examine if there was a way to tell, that the church knew this, and acted own it by simply observing specific actions correlated with specific times. What a person finds when exploring that, is a crime scene that spreads across the world, and every single clue correlates and goes back to the Vatican. My message to christians is simple, get your own book, and stop the violence, otherwise you are just catholic lite. Guys like you are just triggered, and have no idea what you are talking about, just that your own comfort is disturbed. It is like talking to a wall. Christians if not anything else, should be at the forefront of anti-war protests and campaigns. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity is also vehemently Capitalist even when predatory. That is the premise for it’s creation.

  6. And fvck satan,.. this is people, many of whom claim to be christian. Join the gang, wear the colors, be part of it by association. That is what I tell the priests. Either police your own or be held responsible. The old, well they are not real christians,… is tired and doesn’t work. They are christians, and they act like them too.
    Blackwater was there also, and many other christian funded gangs,.and thugs. If this is not what you think christian is , then you are not a christian. The papal bull to control the Americas specifically stated to kill the indigenous, that is the christian stance, and it remains so, even in the SCOTUS. Catholic charities leading the way to foster out the separated children….Today, and for the last 400 years,.. here.

  7. One of the backstories of this was, that the police behind the Morton County Sheriff were largely christian, as were many who volunteered from other states to come and serve as enforcement. Elders were arrested and ridiculed, young girls were strip searched by men, officers urinated on sacred burial sites and confiscated items were also thrown in a dumpster after being urinated on and defecated on by christian officers. This behavior is consistent with continued behavior of christian law enforcement for centuries. It continues, and has not changed much. Christianity has never been friendly to other beliefs or non-christians. They say it, but it is not acted upon, and that has been very consistent for the entire life of the US. There has also been a surge of late comers pretending to be sympathetic , from christian groups, but are actually profiting off the cause, and really just casually aware of it as an event.

  8. Not small. One of the most important events in North American history in many hundreds of years. I would not be alone if I said the most important in a thousand years of North American history.
    It started out as an environmental protest, but evolved into something beyond most peoples imagination or understanding. Much bigger than a pipeline or a protest. There is so much to it, it will take decades to unpack and track the corresponding results of the many facets of advancements and affects. MSM worked their balls off to keep it out of the ears of the public. I talked to a contractor who flies helo’s for the NYSP, a 20 year military vet, and a zoning board official of his town, after it was ‘over” and he had not heard anything about it.

  9. The Secretary of the Army, leading up to the 2016 election, ordered a full EIS to be completed regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline,..with special consideration given to the history of the US Army and the Indigenous people of North America. This was to be a historic act of reconciliation and acknowledgement by a branch of the US military that was intimately involved in the genocide of the Indigenous people of the Americas. The Army Corp of Engineers is routinely used to further claim areas of land previously held sovereign in treaties.
    Instead, Trump was elected, the portrait of Jackson hung behind the desk, the Army Secretary fired and replaced, and the EIS cancelled. It is disgustingly dishonorable. To say the least.

    • He is christian, and so were the thugs who did the beating, if talmudic jues are christians then I agree. They are the supporting arm of it all. Always have been. By definition. This has never changed and continues today.
      I don’t buy into the rhetoric of jews being responsible for christians. Everyone is responsible for themselves.
      Catholicism strongly promotes and adheres to capitalism. fervently.

Comments are closed.