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Standing with Standing Rock

Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement

2019

Nick Estes and Jaskiran Dhillon, Editors

Standing with Standing Rock

Dispatches of radical political engagement from people taking a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Amid the Standing Rock movement to protect the land and the water that millions depend on for life, the Oceti Sakowin (the Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota people) reunited. Through poetry and prose, essays, photography, interviews, and polemical interventions, the contributors reflect on Indigenous history and politics and on the movement’s significance. Their work challenges our understanding of colonial history not simply as “lessons learned” but as essential guideposts for activism.

As our songs and prayers echo across the prairie, we need the public to see that in standing up for our rights, we do so on behalf of the millions of Americans who will be affected by this pipeline.

David Archambault II, from the interior

It is prophecy. A Black Snake will spread itself across the land, bringing destruction while uniting Indigenous nations. The Dakota Access Pipeline is the Black Snake, crossing the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The oil pipeline united communities along its path—from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois—and galvanized a twenty-first-century Indigenous resistance movement marching under the banner Mni Wiconi—Water Is Life! Standing Rock youth issued a call, and millions around the world and thousands of Water Protectors from more than three hundred Native nations answered. Amid the movement to protect the land and the water that millions depend on for life, the Oceti Sakowin (the Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota people) reunited. A nation was reborn with renewed power to protect the environment and support Indigenous grassroots education and organizing. This book assembles the multitude of voices of writers, thinkers, artists, and activists from that movement.

Through poetry and prose, essays, photography, interviews, and polemical interventions, the contributors, including leaders of the Standing Rock movement, reflect on Indigenous history and politics and on the movement’s significance. Their work challenges our understanding of colonial history not simply as “lessons learned” but as essential guideposts for current and future activism.

Contributors: David Archambault II, Natalie Avalos, Tomoki Mari Birkett, Vanessa Bowen, Alleen Brown, Kevin Bruyneel, D. T. Cochrane, Michelle L. Cook, Deborah Cowen, Andrew Curley, Martin Danyluk, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Elizabeth Ellis, Marcella Gilbert, Sandy Grande, Jaida Grey Eagle, Craig Howe, Elise Hunchuck, Michelle Latimer, Layli Long Soldier, David Uahikeaikalei‘ohu Maile, Jason Mancini, Sarah Sunshine Manning, Katie Mazer, Teresa Montoya, Christopher Newell, The NYC Stands with Standing Rock Collective, Jeffrey Ostler, Will Parrish, Shiri Pasternak, endawnis Spears, Alice Speri, Anne Spice, Kim TallBear, Mark K. Tilsen, Edward Valandra, Joel Waters, Tyler Young.
Standing with Standing Rock

Nick Estes is Kul Wicasa, a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He is assistant professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico; cofounder of The Red Nation, an organization dedicated to Indigenous liberation; and author of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.

Jaskiran Dhillon is a first-generation anticolonial scholar and organizer who grew up on Treaty Six Cree Territory in Saskatchewan, Canada. She is associate professor of global studies and anthropology at The New School and author of Prairie Rising: Indigenous Youth, Decolonization, and the Politics of Intervention.
Standing with Standing Rock

As our songs and prayers echo across the prairie, we need the public to see that in standing up for our rights, we do so on behalf of the millions of Americans who will be affected by this pipeline.

David Archambault II, from the interior

There is no alternative to water. There is no alternative to this Earth. This fight has become my life, and it’s not over. I think this is only the beginning for me, for all of us. Do you want a future for your children and grandchildren? If you want them to have a future then stand with Standing Rock because this is just the beginning of a revolution.

Zaysha Grinnell, from the interior

We will put our best warriors in the front. We are the vanguard. We are the Hunkpapa Lakota. That means the horn of the buffalo. That’s who we are. We are protectors of our nation of Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires. Know who we are.

Phyllis Young, from the interior

Standing with Standing Rock

Contents

Introduction: The Black Snake, #NoDAPL, and the Rise of a People’s Movement

Nick Estes and Jaskiran Dhillon

Part I. Leading the Resistance

1. Badass Indigenous Women Caretake Relations: #Standingrock, #IdleNoMore, #BlackLivesMatter

Kim TallBear

2. In the Beginning

Mark K. Tilsen

3. “This Fight Has Become My Life, and It’s Not Over”: An Interview with Zaysha Grinnell

Jaskiran Dhillon

4. Traditional Leadership and the Oceti Sakowin: An Interview with Lewis Grassrope

Nick Estes

5. Taking a Stand at Standing Rock

David Archambault II

Part II. Living Histories

6. “They Took Our Footprint Out of the Ground”: An Interview with LaDonna Bravebull Allard

Nick Estes

7. Mnisose

Craig Howe and Tyler Young

8. Mni Wiconi: Water Is [More Than] Life

Edward Valandra

9. The Great Sioux Nation and the Resistance to Colonial Land Grabbing

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

10. The Supreme Law of the Land: Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline

Jeffrey Ostler and Nick Estes

Part III. Legal and Sociopolitical Landscapes and State Violence

11. Striking at the Heart of Capital: International Financial Institutions and Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights

Michelle L. Cook

12. Beyond Environmentalism: #NoDAPL as Assertion of Tribal Sovereignty

Andrew Curley

13. Resolutions

Layli Long Soldier

14. Centering Sovereignty: How Standing Rock Changed the Conversation

Elizabeth Ellis

15. Counterterrorism Tactics at Standing Rock

Alleen Brown, Will Parrish, and Alice Speri

Part IV. Environmental Colonization

16. Heal the People, Heal the Land: An Interview with Freda Huson

Anne Spice

17. The Financing Problem of Colonialism: How Indigenous Jurisdiction Is Valued in Pipeline Politics

Shiri Pasternak, Katie Mazer, and D. T. Cochrane

18. What Standing Rock Teaches Us about Environmental Justice

Jaskiran Dhillon

Part V. Education and Critical Pedagogies

19. Red Praxis: Lessons from Mashantucket to Standing Rock

Sandy Grande, Natalie Avalos, Jason Mancini, Christopher Newell, and endawnis Spears

20. For Standing Rock: A Moving Dialogue

Tomoki Mari Birkett and Teresa Montoya

21. A Lesson in Natural Law

Marcella Gilbert

22. Standing Rock: The Actualization of a Community and a Movement

Sarah Sunshine Manning

23. #NoDAPL Syllabus Project

The New York City Stands with Standing Rock Collective

Part VI. Indigenous Organizing and Solidarity in Movement Building

24. Lessons from the Land: Peace through Relationship

Michelle Latimer

25. Wake Work versus Work of Settler Memory: Modes of Solidarity in #NoDAPL, Black Lives Matter, and Anti-Trumpism

Kevin Bruyneel

26. Threats of Violence: Refusing the Thirty Meter Telescope and Dakota Access Pipeline

David Uahikeaikalei‘ohu Maile

27. Decolonize This Place and Radical Solidarity: An Interview with Nitasha Dhillon and Amin Husain

Jaskiran Dhillon

28. Death of Hydra

Joel Waters

29. Mapping a Many-Headed Hydra: Transnational Infrastructures of Extraction and Resistance

Katie Mazer, Martin Danyluk, Elise Hunchuck, and Deborah Cowen

Acknowledgments

Contributors

Publication Information

Index