On Sunday, Dec. 4, after months of valiant protesting and petitioning by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its environmentalist allies, demonstrators in North Dakota finally received the eleventh hour win they'd been waiting for. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not grant the necessary permit for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to drill beneath Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir and an important source of water for the tribe. The announcement came none too soon: last week, following a series of altercations with police that, according to The New York Times, culminated in the use of tear gas and water cannons, protesters were told to evacuate their camp by Monday.
The future of the oil pipeline project remains unclear. Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army's assistant secretary for civil works, said in a statement that she denied the drill permit with the intent of exploring alternative routes, and there is always the risk that President-elect Donald Trump, who CBS reported owns stock in the company responsible for the pipeline, could reverse course after taking office.
But today still represents the first major win for the self-described "water protectors," who celebrated the news by banging drums and joining hands. And, as evidenced by social media posts following the Army's announcement, the protesters' landmark victory also offers a much-needed glimmer of hope to an increasingly polarized nation.
The win at Standing Rock is proof, many Twitter users said, that there is still hope. That our democracy still works. That protests can change things. That victory is possible.
Read some of their heartfelt tweets below: