“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
Dispatches of radical political engagement from people taking a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
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.
Standing with Standing Rock: Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement, edited by Nick Estes, assembles the multitude of voices of writers, thinkers, artists, and activists from that movement. Through poetry, 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.
Nick Estes (Kul Wicasa Oyate) was born and raised in Chamberlain, South Dakota next to Mni Sose (the Missouri River). His nation is the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (the Great Sioux Nation or the Nation of the Seven Council Fires). Estes holds a PhD in American Studies and is Assistant Professor in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico and a member of the Oak Lake Writers Society, a network of Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota writers. In 2014, he co-founded The Red Nation, an Indigenous liberation organization, in Albuquerque, NM.
Estes is the author of Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance, the chapter, “Anti-Indian Common Sense: Border Town Violence and Resistance in Mni Luzahan,” found in Settler City Limits: Indigenous Resurgence and Colonial Violence in the Urban Prairie West by Heather Dorries, et al, and the editor of Standing with Standing Rock: Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement. His work is also featured in The Intercept, can be found in Intercept, Jacobin, Indian Country Today, The Funambulist Magazine, and High Country News.