Native American protesters have been battered by cannons, pepper spray and Tasers as armed police attempt to clear their camp in North Dakota.
Around 150 protesters have been arrested as they try and stop an oil pipeline they say will threaten their only source of water.
The oil pipeline will cross sacred burial grounds and the Missouri River.
It's said if you don't learn from history, you're doomed to repeat it. And now Native Americans are again facing a fight to protect their environment and their livelihoods.
"I'm tired of being f**king oppressed," says one protester. "These people have been oppressing us for over five f**king hundred years and I'm tired of this s**t to be honest. I'm here to make a change, and we have to do it this way, then we're going to have to do it this way."
The proposed oil pipeline, built by Energy Transfer Partners, could affect the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's only water supply, which comes from the Missouri River.
It will run from North Dakota to Illinois and is designed to transport as many as 570,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
People throughout the United States are also sending a message of support to the Sioux and of anger to the authorities.
"There's young children the same age as my daughter being maced and being fired on with rubber bullets; I want to know how that's protecting people."
The Kiwi director of Thor, Taika Waititi, joined his lead actor, Chris Hemsworth, in showing support for Standing Rock.
The biggest risk for the tribe's water supply is that even the smallest leak or rupture in the pipeline could do serious damage.
"If they would only listen to us then we wouldn't be in this spot," says one protester. "That's all we're here for - to protect this water and the sacredness of this land."
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has reported almost 3500 leaks and ruptures in oil and gas pipelines since 2010.
The project will cost almost NZ$6 billion, but opponents are hoping their protests and litigation will eventually put an end to it.