People Are Getting Matching Thunderbird Tattoos In Support Of Standing Rock

The Sioux tribe at Standing Rock endured months of police attacks with pepper spray, rubber bullets, dogs, and fire hoses. Planted in peaceful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, they were joined by allies from all walks of life.

Today, they celebrate a victory.

Breaking news over the weekend announced that US Army Corps Engineers are putting the construction on a halt. The alert came just one day before the Army Corps planned to raid the camps and evict everyone.

While many are rejoicing now, others stay cautious, saying the fight is not over. No-DAPL activists like Stephanie Big-Eagle are making sure people never forget the historic fight at Standing Rock.

An artist and descendant of the Great Sioux Nation, she and her colleagues at Spiritual Journey Tattoo created the #StandingRockTattoo movement. This campaign invites anyone to use her flash design, with all proceeds going to the official GoFundMe page.

She explains the tattoo's meaning on the site:

"The Thunderbird represents Great Spirit, who watches over and guides all of the protectors at Standing Rock. The tail of the thunderbird is a tipi, which represents the woman (life-giver).

Beneath the tail flows the river of life, carrying within it the seven bands of the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation), whose ancestors foretold of a time when all nations would heal and unite as one after many generations of suffering."

A photo posted by Brian Eick (@brianeick) on

Tattooer Carl "Charly Horse" De La Riva (@carldelarivaart) was so moved by the project, he had the design tattooed on his chin. He tells Konbini:

"This isn't a tattoo fad or a bandwagon to hop on. This tattoo is very significant to me, my roots, history, my elders, and the future of my relatives."

The initial goal was to raise $10,000 to send to trusted Sioux members on the ground. Today, with artists in 34 states and 15 countries, they've raised over $76,000 and counting.

Stephanie Big-Eagle said on Facebook that these tattoos are permanent reminders "to make sure the water stays protected, that our environment stays protected, for the next seven generations to come."

A photo posted by Lio (@liotattoos) on

See more of the #StandingRockTattoo community below:

A photo posted by Raylene:. (@raegabriela) on

A photo posted by Adam Hays (@adamguyhays) on

A photo posted by Holly J (@hollynn219) on

A photo posted by Matreena Noland (@matreena) on

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Morgan is a New York-based archivist of contemporary tattoo art. She is Founder and Editor of the digital gallery Tattrx, works as a freelance writer and agent for modern artists.