Oil has spilled onto the the water and it has caught fire. That vision is the opening
sequence of Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock, which is a documentary about the
protests over the proposed oil pipeline under the the Missouri River. It is directed by
Josh Fox, James Spione, and Myron Dewey. Through narration and interviews with the
protesters, the film shows what is being put at risk, as well as the Sioux’s deep
connection to water and the Earth. It is a connection that has largely been lost in
modern day culture.
The film also exposes the frequent violence by police in attempts to remove the
protesters. There are several depictions of the use of mace and pepper spray to force
them to leave. Nevertheless, the protesters were adamant that they would rmain
peaceful and called themselves the “water protectors.”
Though the film ends on a largely somber note, it is at the same time hopeful
because the protests in Standing Rock inspired similiar actions around the globe,
incuding Oklahoma, Florida, France, Spain, and the United Kingdon, when other water
supplies were in jeopardy. Through this, this film shows that it is possible to awake from
the dream of destruction and be empowered.