Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance
by Nick Estes
2019 / 321 pages
read by Bill Andrew Quinn
rating: 9 / Native American history and current events-
This book is from a bit more radical viewpoint than I’m used to reading about Native issues, but there’s an important history embedded in our current events and it needs to be told.
The struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline has been the one of the most important political movements of the 21st century but it’s certainly not an issue isolated in time. The roots of the issue go back to the formation of the Standing Rock Reservation when the lands of the Great Sioux Nation taken over, split, sold and finally flooded to create a dam on the Missouri River. This took place over about a century but eventually led to the conflict over an oil pipeline to go too close to the water and areas of sacred land.
The book has a lot of legal action playing out (and illegal action) instead of battles and simple take-overs like in the 19th century and 20th centuries. DAPL and the US government (engineers) apparently ignore the old treaties, takes what they want, and lets the natives sue for what was granted by treaty. That beat, as the title implies, goes on. It’s rather horrifying.
The author, Nick Estes, is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He is an assistant professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico. In 2014, he co-founded The Red Nation, an Indigenous resistance organization.