Water Protectors at Standing Rock, drawing from long traditions of resistance, used Indigenous sovereignty and mutual aid networks based on kinship as bulwarks against oil pipelines, state violence, and environmental colonialism. These two elements have helped shield Indigenous nations from the COVID-19 pandemic, but as the fossil fuel industry exploits the crisis to expand pipeline projects renewed struggle is more vital than ever.
Nick Estes and Kim Tallbear lead a virtual teach-in on what lessons today’s activists can learn from these traditions of resistance.
Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He is an Assistant Professor in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. In 2014, he co-founded The Red Nation, an Indigenous resistance organization. For 2017-2018, Estes was the American Democracy Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. Estes is the author of the book Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance and he co-edited Standing with Standing Rock: Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement, which draws together more than thirty contributors, including leaders, scholars, and activists of the Standing Rock movement. Estes’ journalism and writing is also featured in the Intercept, Jacobin, Indian Country Today, The Funambulist Magazine, and High Country News.
Kim TallBear is Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment. She is building a research hub in Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society. Follow them at www.IndigenousSTS.com and @indigenous_sts. TallBear is author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science. Her Indigenous STS work recently turned to also address decolonial and Indigenous sexualities. She founded a University of Alberta arts-based research lab and co-produces the sexy storytelling show, Tipi Confessions, sparked by the popular Austin, Texas show, Bedpost Confessions. Building on lessons learned with geneticists about how race categories get settled, TallBear is working on a book that interrogates settler-colonial commitments to settlement in place, within disciplines, and within monogamous, state-sanctioned marriage. She is a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. She tweets @KimTallBear and @CriticalPoly.