A flotilla of canoes arrived late Thursday afternoon to the banks of the muddy Cannonball River, carrying Washington state tribal members who were officially welcomed ashore with song and cheers.

The canoes left Bismarck on Wednesday on their symbolic journey down the Missouri River and up the Cannonball to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp, where the unifying theme is “water is life” and hundreds are gathered in attempt to keep the pipeline out of the river.

Members of the Nisqually, Puyallup, Westshore Canoe, Swinomish, Colville, Warm Springs, Kalispell, Kootenai and Coeur d’Alene tribes of Minnesota, as well as one from Alaska, sang a greeting song as they arrived at the shoreline where hundreds of people from the camp waited to greet them, many watching from the Highway 1806 bridge for a long view of the water.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II met them after their journey some 35 miles downriver in heavy rain Wednesday and said, “We welcome you to our land.”

The ceremony was held at the far edge of the camp, which continues to swell and grow daily with tribal members from all over the country arriving to join Standing Rock’s stand against the pipeline.

The camp has continued to attract national and international media outlets. Professional camera crews filming the river ceremony bumped elbows with camp spectators.

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