The wild buffalo is a sacred symbol to Native Americans, and as things become more dire at the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota, the appearance on the scene of the majestic animals made for an epic moment.
In a powerful video uploaded to Vimeo, a protester was being interviewed as he stood on one side of a barbed-wire fence separating protesters from police in riot gear.
“I feel disrespected. I feel hurt,” the unidentified protester said. “I feel just hurt that these guys [points to police] won’t never understand. You know? I try to tell them but — the only reason we are moving back is because they are armed with batons, tear gas, riot gear, weapons, rubber bullets. That’s what it takes for them to push us back. They carry weapons because they’re scared.”
The interviewer then asked the man, “What does this land mean to you?”
“This land means everything…”
At that very moment, a pack of hundreds of buffalo appeared in the distance while cries of joy and excitement emanated from the crowd of protesters.
The dramatic moment comes in the wake of authorities using pepper spray and the firing of rubber bean bags in a violent escalation to remove the protesters. According to NBC News, at least 141 protesters were arrested as of midnight this Thursday.
A court decision allowing construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline across four states has been called an economic boon that will make the United States less dependent on imported oil. But according to protesters, it threatens the environment and will destroy sacred Native American land and artifacts.
Watch the video below: