Caring for sacred items, structures at Oceti Sakowin camp during clean up process

Published: Feb. 24, 2017 at 6:10 PM CST
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Even though the Oceti Sakowin camp isn't located on tribal land, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe still has a vested interest in what remains there.

While the site was occupied by protesters, culturally sensitive items were housed there.

Crews are cleaning up around structures and artifacts that are sacred to Native Americans.

In the middle of mounds of garbage, stands structures that are meaningful to the people who once camped here.

Dr. Kelly Morgan is an archaeologist for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She's photographing and searching for culturally sensitive items.

"It's just really sad, something was really beautiful, and this is the end result," said Kelly Morgan, Standing Rock Sioux tribal archaeologist

This camp appears to be filled with trash but there are many culturally significant structures that were left behind that are going to be treated with respect.

"We were made aware that there are culturally significant items in there. and when we came across those items as we cleared through that whether it be sweat lodges or tepees that we were to leave them in tact," said Derek Arndt, North Dakota Highway Patrol.

This sweat lodge is one of the objects that won't be torn down and trashed.

Cleanup crews are doing their part to steer clear of anything that needs to be preserved.

"To make sure we aren't disturbing anything that is sacred, anything that the tribe wants back, we can help out, get that done," said Logan Thompson, Prairie View Excavating.

Morgan says if anything of culturally value is found, the tribe will make every effort to return it to it's owner.

Capt. Ryan Hignight of The Army Corps of Engineers is also committed to salvaging anything of cultural significance.

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