7 jaw-dropping images from the ongoing pipeline protest in North Dakota.

Right now, more than 200 members of Native American tribes and their fellow activists are camping out near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

They've been there for months, and the protest is one of the biggest in Native American history. If you haven't been following the protests, though, let's get you up to speed:

Basically, a corporation called Energy Transfer Partners wants to build a big oil pipeline, stretching more than a thousand miles from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline would snake within a half-mile of the water supply that serves more than 9,000 Native Americans, and it could also disturb their sacred tribal lands.


When they heard about this, the Standing Rock Sioux filed suit against Energy Transfer Partners and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers on the grounds they had disregarded both tribal treaties and U.S. environmental regulations. In late August 2016, this all came to a head during a weeklong standoff at the construction site, where Native American tribes came together with the Standing Rock Sioux in a way that hadn't been seen since the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

A federal court was expected to make a decision on Aug. 24, 2016, about whether the pipeline could continue being built. But then the judges postponed the decision for an extra two weeks.

They wanted to wait until Sept. 9, 2016, so they could have time to look over all the information. In the meantime, construction was expected to halt. As temporary as the victory was, things were cautiously looking up for the protesters and their land.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

While the tribes waited for the federal judges to make up their minds, they also discovered, and presented, some new information about the ancestral land they trying to protect.

According to tribal historians, several ancient and culturally important burial grounds and other sacred sites would be affected by the pipeline — including at least 27 burials, 16 stone rings, 19 effigies, and some other features too.

"These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings there cannot be replaced," said tribal chairman David Archambault II in a press release.

The tribes submitted their information to the court on the Friday before Labor Day — and the next morning, those same lands were already being razed by bulldozers from Energy Transfer Partners.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

When tribal protesters and other activists tried to stop the machines from destroying their land, though, they were allegedly greeted by private security guards armed with dogs and pepper spray.

Of course, the details of the incident change depending on who you ask. The Sacred Stone Camp claims at least six people were bitten by dogs, including a child and a pregnant woman, while about 30 more were pepper sprayed. Protesters shared photos and videos that appear to support these claims.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

However, Energy Transfer Partners basically responded with a "Nuh-uh! They started it!" placing the blame on the protesters for any violence that occurred.

And although local law enforcement was not present during the incident, the Morton County Sheriff's Office stated that "four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured," but they received no official reports of protesters being injured. The crowd dispersed when law enforcement officers arrived on the scene and no one was arrested.

Regardless of how the incident began, one thing is certain: It was a rough altercation. And it sums up just how messed up this whole situation has been from the start.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

Demolition continued through Labor Day weekend. But the battle wasn't over yet.

The Standing Rock Sioux filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order against the project, which was granted in part by a U.S. district court on Sept. 6, 2016. It will only last until the official court decision comes down at the end of the week, but at least it's something.

Even the U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers — the other defendant in the case, alongside Energy Transfer Partners — supported the decision for the sake of public safety.

Unfortunately, though, that decision couldn't undo the damage already done on ancient Native American lands.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

"Imagine heavy machinery invading your family cemetery, plowing through graves, demolishing headstones, knocking down the church next door," Archambault wrote in an Op-Ed for The Hill. "Our people are heartbroken. Our history is destroyed. That ground is now hollow."

"Destroying the Tribe’s sacred places over a holiday weekend, while the judge is considering whether to block the pipeline, shows a flagrant disregard for the legal process," the tribe's attorney told Indian Country Today.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

Sadly, the bullying, strong-arming, and general disregard of Native American life and property is nothing new in the U.S.

But, at least this time, we have a chance to stop it before it gets even worse.

If you want to help the Standing Rock Sioux protect their lands — and stand up for the rights of Native Americans in general against big oil corporations — you can start by signing the official White House petition to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Sacred Stone Camp is also accepting donations of cash and supplies, which is particularly helpful, since many of them already live in poverty and state authorities have pulled water and other emergency resources from the protest site. You can also contribute directly to the tribe's legal defense fund or divest from any of the companies and banks who are currently supporting the pipeline's construction.

At the very least, you can help spread the word about the struggle, so that Energy Transfer Partners can't keep getting away with these kinds of actions.

In the words of the Standing Rock Sioux: "Water is life."

All Native Americans deserve to keep their rights to water and to life.

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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