Thosh Collins
Water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin Camp.

How to Give, and to Give Thanks, to Standing Rock

Chelsey Luger

Whether or not you plan to celebrate Thanksgiving, now is the perfect time to offer thanks and support for all Native people on the Standing Rock Reservation and their allies on the #NoDAPL frontlines who are working tirelessly to protect everyone’s access to clean drinking water and the wellbeing of the Earth.

If you can’t make it to Standing Rock to help protect the water in person, the best thing you can do is to pray for the water protectors and to donate money to one of the many groups and organizations that are helping the effort in various capacities.

The following is a list of reliable, trustworthy sources you can donate to with confidence.

1 – The official Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund

Remember that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is a sovereign nation with its own laws, territory and government. When we talk about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (capital-T) we are not referring to the water protector camps or to the Oceti Sakowin (great Sioux Nation) as a whole, or even to the entire population of Standing Rock. Rather, the SRST is a specific tribal government nearest and most actively involved in a legal and political capacity with preventing the Dakota Access Pipeline from crossing the river just north of their reservation border.

The Tribe is not the official organizer or funder of the water protection camps, though they do monitor and support the camps in different ways, and their goals are closely aligned. The continued fight against Dakota Access LLC (the pipeline company) drains resources from the Tribe, particularly on the legal front. SRST requires badly needed funding to continue to successfully operate and to support the grassroots efforts of the water protectors in the way that they deem most appropriate as a sovereign nation.

Follow this link to donate to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund:

2 – Water Protector Legal Collective (formerly Red Owl Legal Collective)

The Water Protector Legal Collective is a nonprofit organization that coordinates legal services for the water protectors with the National Lawyers Guild. Dozens of water protectors have already been arrested and detained, often facing extremely aggressive law enforcement and harsh conditions while incarcerated. Many of these water protectors cannot afford bail or to hire lawyers for trial, so the Water Protector Legal Collective is stepping in to provide quality legal services for those in need of assistance. To assist the water protectors in acquiring legal defense and protection, please follow this link to donate:

3 – Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council

Hundreds of water protectors and innocent bystanders have been injured so far due to aggressive force and violent tactics employed by state and local law enforcement who are protecting the pipeline company but not the people. Further, the Oceti Sakowin camps are continually populated with hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. Like any large settlement or town, a presence of medical personnel is necessary round-the-clock for the day-to-day functioning of the community. To support the first responders and daily coordination of medical and healing supplies and aid for the camps and water protectors, please follow this link to donate:

4 – The official Oceti Sakowin Camp (Seven Council Fires) Fund

There are many false and duplicate Oceti Sakowin Camp social media sites out there, so be sure that you are donating to the official source. The Oceti Sakowin Camp is the main campsite where most water protectors are living and working. Any cash donations to this source will go toward continued functioning of the camp, including basic needs like food and winter equipment. On the Oceti Sakowin website, you can donate cash or you can view a long list of supplies that are currently needed in case you’d like to purchase stuff to deliver personally to camp. To donate to the Oceti Sakowin camp, follow this link:

5 – Medical Fund for Sophia Wilansky

On Monday morning, November 21, law enforcement officers hit 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky with a concussion grenade while she was passing out water bottles to the water protectors on the frontlines. She was severely injured from the attack, and will face mounting medical expenses. Wilansky has already been through one surgery and will be undergoing several more surgeries in hopes of repairing her arm, which is at risk of amputation due to the severity of the injury. To donate to Wilanksy’s medical fund, please follow this link:

RELATED: Statement by Father of Sophia Wilansky, Critically Injured at NoDAPL Action

6 – The Lakota Language Immersion Nest

The Lakota Language Immersion Nest is an early childhood education school based in Ft. Yates, North Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation where children are given the opportunity to be fully immersed in Lakota language education. Indigenous language immersion programs have been researched and proven some of the most effective ways of healing and thriving for Native communities who have historically struggled with loss or interruption of language and cultural practices. While the Lakota Language Nest is not directly or officially affiliated with the water protector camps, it is important to remember that the children of Standing Rock and the health and wellbeing of future generations of children in Standing Rock are, in many ways, the primary motivators behind the fight for clean water. Donating to the Language Immersion Nest is an excellent way to contribute to the future wellbeing of the entire Standing Rock Sioux Tribe:

7 – Other valid ways to donate

There are several other organizations and resources that are directly or indirectly supporting the #NoDAPL efforts.

You can donate to Shailene Woodley’s organization, “Up to Us,” by purchasing a t-shirt here:

All funds from B Yellowtail’s “Protector” fundraiser also go directly to Standing Rock (plus the t-shirt designs are really cool!)

The Indigenous Environmental Network is a non-profit organization that has been a sustained and continual source of advocacy and support for not only Standing Rock but also for other indigenous environmental issues:

EarthJustice is an environmental law firm currently representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight to protect their water. You can learn more about their work and donate to the larger EarthJustice cause here:

Finally, if you’d like to simply show up, talk to people, and see for yourself (in person) who needs what, you can always visit the Oceti Sakowin camps yourself. Please keep in mind that if you do visit the camps, you should not expect to be catered to or provided for. Many people are struggling and sacrificing a lot to be there, so plan to take care of your own needs and the needs of others if possible.  If you show up to help, you should be prepared to support yourself financially, have a plan for lodging and food, and be ready to work and contribute to the cause.

There are a whole bunch of crowd-funding campaigns going around that are false and untrustworthy. It’s probably best to avoid donating to individuals who are hoping to travel to Standing Rock for media (if they are really journalists, their publications should be paying them) or for “learning experiences” (their learning experience is not as urgent as the life-threatening needs of those who are working to protect the water) or for any other attention-grabbing cause.

Please note: This list is not entirely comprehensive. We apologize if we may have missed some other valid crowd-funding campaigns. Many thanks to the water protectors and to all who support their cause.

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