On Saturday, November 12th, activist, songwriter and advocate of "Rocking in the Free World," Neil Young, celebrated his 71st Birthday with a surprise trip to Oceti Sakowin Camp near Lake Oahu, North Dakota to show solidarity, build community and play music with the Standing Rock Sioux and the international Water Protectors on site.

Water is life for activist Neil Young

The Canadian posted on his Facebook to share his excitement that his girlfriend had surprised him with the trip to the camp as a Birthday gift:

"my girl took me to #StandWithStandingRock

#WaterIsLife

those who damage Mother Earth

damage us all

forgive them

they don't yet see.”

Neil Young has been an outspoken supporter of indigenous rights who has also used his enduring popularity to spread messages of activism against the natural devastation which is wrecked by oil pipelines.

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In 2014, he joined Willie Nelson in Nebraska to play a concert in protest of the Keystone XXL project, releasing the song "Who's Gonna Stand Up?" as his contribution to efforts to disrupt that proposed project.

Young's new album, "Peace Trail," is set to be released internationally on December 9th and features the song "Indian Givers." The track was released with a music video that shows dramatic footage of Standing Rock Sioux elders being arrested, juxtaposed with images of militarized police and Neil Young moving through the lands, proclaiming himself a "protector" and an "ally" of all indigenous persons and a supporter of their sovereign claims to land use.

The song laments the lack of mainstream media coverage of the events at the Dakota Access Pipeline:

“There’s a battle raging on the sacred land.

Our brothers and sisters had to take a stand

against us now for what we’ve all been doin'

On the sacred land, there’s a battle brewing...

I wish somebody would share the news.”

Stand with the Standing Rock Sioux, Dave Matthews, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

On November 27th, Dave Matthews has scheduled a Washington, D.C.

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benefit show to raise awareness around those protesting at Standing Rock. Matthews, along with Tim Reynolds, Neko Case, Ledisi and more at the Stand With Standing Rock show at DAR Constitution Hall. On that same day, a Standing Rock Benefit Show will be put on by Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt at Prairie Knights Pavilion in Fort Yates, ND.

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