Things were bad enough before America elected Donald Trump as its 45th president. Over the course of his campaign and previous decades of public life — both unprecedented in their combination of evil and stupidity — Trump has made it clear that he does not care for, or about, most of the 7.4 billion people with whom he shares a planet. Nor does he care about the environment; earlier this year, Trump called climate change a hoax “created by and for the Chinese” and threatened to pull out of the Paris climate accord signed by President Obama and nearly 200 countries in 2015.
Under the bloated shadow of his term, members of the Standing Rock Sioux, activists, and allies will continue to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, as they’ve done since April. The crude oil pipeline is a direct threat to the Missouri River, the primary water source for the Standing Rock reservation and for nearby communities in North Dakota. Trump has not made a public stance on its construction; nor has he given any indication that he would challenge the corporate interests that stand to gain billions from its existence. And so the fight will persist.
In recent weeks, photographer Nicholas Small has spent time documenting scenes in Standing Rock and in the surrounding towns that stand to be most affected by the pipeline. His photos of the land and its people are below.