2015 - Contemporary Indigenous Activism: Indigenous Rising & NoDAPL

Indigenous Rising is a movement and Indigenous environmental network project devoted to environmental justice for Indigenous people and land.

"Indigenous Peoples are Rising Up in Solidarity to defend our Rights as Indigenous Peoples; to protect the Sacredness of, the Territorial Integrity of, and Rights of (Grandmother) Mother Earth; and the Rights of Future Generations. We are building solidarity from the Global South to the North to fulfill our sacred duties, listening to the teachings of our elders and the voices of our youth and women, to act wisely to carry out our responsibilities to enhance the health and respect the sacredness of Mother Earth, and to demand climate justice now. Indigenous Peoples will not stand idle as we tell the world the Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited." - IndigenousRising.org

#NoDAPL is a monumental protection movement that started in 2016as a response to the Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin people's resistance to the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) re-routing through their territory in North Dakota, against their wishes, and without tribal consultation. The pipeline was projected to run from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to southern Illinois, crossing beneath the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, as well as under part of Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Many in the Standing Rock tribe consider the pipeline and its intended crossing of the Missouri River to constitute a threat to the region's clean water and to ancient burial grounds. In April, Standing Rock Sioux elder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard established a camp as a center for cultural preservation and spiritual resistance to the pipeline; over the summer the camp grew to thousands of people.

It spurred a nation wide movement of protests, fundraising, water protection and Indigenous solidarity.

The Sacred Stone camp was established as a place for water protectors to operate from. Private security, police forces and local non-Native people clashed with the water protectors. The Oceti Sakowin tribe tried to fight the construction of the DAPL in court, but was not successful.

Privately hired security guards used pepper spray and guard dogs to attack the protestors. At least six protesters were treated for dog bites, and an estimated 30 were pepper-sprayed before the guards and their dogs left the scene in trucks. A woman that had taken part in the incident stated, "The cops watched the whole thing from up on the hills. It felt like they were trying to provoke us into being violent when we’re peaceful." - Indian Country Media Network

There were many increasingly violent clashes with the local security forces and police. The protests lasted into the winter, and the harsh weather conditions of North Dakota made life much more difficult for the protestors, which helped the police in their effort to clear the Sacred Stone encampment.

Ultimately, the Dakota Access Pipeline project was completed. As of December 3, 2017, it has sprung at least three leaks that are of public record.

Digging Deeper


High School Resources

Junior High School Resources

Elementary School Resources

Sharing Our World: Animals of the Native Northwest Coast

T.J. Young, Kaigani, Haida

Ages 3-7

Spiritual connection to the natural surroundings. Sharing the land with wildlife and paying respect to all kinds of life.

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