Local tribes showed solidarity with the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes on Saturday, unveiling a sculpture by artist Ed Archie NoiseCat during the Nisqually Indian Tribe’s annual powwow.
NoiseCat’s sculpture depicts a warrior woman standing above a black, coiled snake devouring the bones of the Sioux ancestors. NoiseCat said Saturday that he hopes the piece will inspire other nations to join the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“With all of the people struggling to hold on to what little we have left, I thought it would be best to do what I do,” NoiseCat said. “And I make art.”
The piece, titled “Mni Wiconi” which means “Water is Life,” stands about 11 feet tall and is made of Alaskan yellow cedar.
NoiseCat said the idea for the piece came to him about three months ago, after listening to news about the protest at Standing Rock. He wanted to honor both the native and nonnative water protectors.
He said he featured a female warrior because local native cultures have always valued women.
“Having a woman on top of this seemed like a really important symbol,” NoiseCat said.
NoiseCat is an enrolled member of the Canim Lake Band, in British Columbia.
Last year, about 30 members of the local canoe family traveled to North Dakota to join the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some members of the canoe family are still there.
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