A piece of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest is going to the Smithsonian

It'll be in an exhibit about relations between the U.S. and Native Americans.

The Dakota Access Pipeline protest – aka #NoDAPL – wasn't any ordinary political demonstration. 

Lasting nearly a year, and marking the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than a century, the protests were historic in scale.

So it's probably no surprise the Smithsonian – "the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex" – would want to preserve a piece of the battle for future generations.

On Tuesday, the institution will officially unveil something called "the mile pole at Standing Rock," a nearly 12-foot-tall wooden post that stood in the largest of the three protest camps, a news release said

The pole is covered in handmade signs that were put up by protesters – who called themselves "water protectors" – to indicate where they'd come from. As the Smithsonian notes, there are signs from all over the world. 

One was posted by members of the Sami indigenous peoples, who live about 3,913 miles away from the protest site – in the Arctic. 

The so-called mile marker will be part of an exhibit known as Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations

“When more than 12,000 activists and hundreds of Native Nations assembled in North Dakota during 2016 to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, treaties were at the heart of the issue,” Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, said in the release.

What happened with #NoDAPL

The protest began in April 2016, when opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline project set up their first protest camp near Cannonball, North Dakota.

At issue was the location of the pipeline. The Sioux from the nearby Standing Rock Indian Reservation were angry that the pipeline would run under Lake Oahe, which is part of the Missouri River – the main source of drinking water for the tribe.

And as Time notes, the Sioux also argued the project would burrow into sacred burial grounds, and that the federal government hadn't properly consulted them during the permitting process.

In the end, the protesters were forced to disband their camps in February of this year, and in June, the pipeline was given the green light to start shipping oil.

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