They had come to join Native American tribes and environmentalists protesting an oil pipeline, fully expecting to endure tear gas and rubber bullets. But in the end, veterans who traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation found something far more profound.

  Tribal members conduct a cleansing ceremony for the veterans who traveled to North Dakota to oppose the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Tribal members conduct a cleansing ceremony for the veterans who traveled to North Dakota to oppose the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Inside the auditorium at a reservation casino, Wes Clark Jr. and about a dozen veterans in formation behind him faced a small group of Sioux spiritual leaders. Encircling them, hundreds of other veterans looked on.  

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