We have had a long and shameful history of trampling on the rights and dignity of Native Americans from the earliest days of our colonization of this hemisphere. I point this out and share this excerpt not to point a finger or promote shame for the sins of the past but rather to ask if we wish to add another chapter to this history oppression and subjugation by our action or our failure to act. We are not responsible for what was done in the past but the future is in our hands. I generally try to avoid discussing politics on this blog but this is not a political issue it is a human issue. We can not and should not remain silent while the rights of others are trampled simply because they do not have the poltical clout to say no.
This syllabus project contributes to the already substantial work of the Sacred Stones Camp, Red Warrior Camp, and the Oceti Sakowin Camp to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which threatens traditional and treaty-guaranteed Great Sioux Nation territory. The Pipeline violates the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and 1851 signed by the United States, as well as recent United States environmental regulations. The potentially 1,200-mile pipeline presents the same environmental and human dangers as the Keystone XL pipeline, and would transport hydraulically fractured (fracked) crude oil from the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota to connect with existing pipelines in Illinois. While the pipeline was originally planned upriver from the predominantly white border town of Bismarck, North Dakota, the new route passes immediately above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, crossing Lake Oahe, tributaries of Lake Sakakawea, the Missouri River twice, and the Mississippi River once. Now is the time to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock against catastrophic environmental damage.
The different sections and articles place what is happening now in a broader historical, political, economic, and social context going back over 500 years to the first expeditions of Columbus, the founding of the United States on institutionalized slavery, private property, and dispossession, and the rise of global carbon supply and demand. Indigenous peoples around the world have been on the frontlines of conflicts like Standing Rock for centuries. This syllabus brings together the work of Indigenous and allied activists and scholars: anthropologists, historians, environmental scientists, and legal scholars, all of whom contribute important insights into the conflicts between Indigenous sovereignty and resource extraction. While our primary goal is to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, we recognize that Standing Rock is one frontline of many around the world. This syllabus can be a tool to access research usually kept behind paywalls, or a resource package for those unfamiliar with Indigenous histories and politics. Share, add, and discuss using the hashtag #StandingRockSyllabus on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. Like those on frontlines, we are here for as long as it takes.