Online Movie Premiere, Mother Jones, November 15, 2016
Mni Wiconi ("Water is Life" in the Sioux language) doesn't aim to be an exhaustive document of the battle against this 1,172-mile oil pipeline. Rather, the film is an introduction to the conflict and the players at Standing Rock—"a primer," filmmaker Lucian Read says. The fight isn't over, after all. On Monday, the tribe seemed to get a reprievewhen the Army Corps of Engineers called for further analysis of the proposed pipeline route and consultation with tribal officials about their concerns. Standing Rock activists have declared Tuesday a "national day of action" against the pipeline, a project that is 95 percent complete despite the lack of the official easements and permits needed to finish it.
In addition to introducing key anti-pipeline figures, such as Standing Rock chairman Dave Archambault II and local landowner and activist LaDonna Allard, Read's nine-minute film is a lush visual explainer, a kaleidoscopic sketch of the conflict's root causes, from poverty to broken treaties to the "militarization of the oil industry," as one character puts it.