Articles

Lessons From Standing Rock

Image Source: The Guardian

In 2016, the water protectors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation created worldwide awareness of Indigenous rights and environmental justice in a way that few movements have before. As the world and Indian Country watched, thousands of water protectors rallied to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run under part of the Missouri River on the reservation.

From the beginning, youth helped lead the activism against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In April 2016, youth from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe created the Sacred Stone Camp along the Cannonball River on the reservation. Later that month, youth ran from the reservation to Omaha, Nebraska, to deliver a petition signed by 457,000 people to the Omaha District office of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, demanding they stop the pipeline. The Commander of the Omaha District refused to meet with them. In July 2016, Standing Rock youth ran to Washington, DC to demand President Obama stop the pipeline. By August 2016, construction of the Dakota Access pipeline began — but protests were just getting started.

Over the next few months, thousands of water protectors camped near the construction site in protest, effectively delaying construction for several months. Water protectors used several key methods to raise awareness. The first was recognizing water both as a sustainer of life and as sacred for many tribal communities. This brought about the phrase Mní wičhóni, Lakota for “Water is Life.” A second key strategy of water protectors was encouraging divestment (removing money) from banks that supported the pipeline by holding protests in front of banks like Wells Fargo. Using divestment as a technique enabled people across the U.S. and world to engage with the movement, beyond attending protests or joining the camp.

By December 2016, President Obama and the Department of the Army denied a final easement until an Environmental Impact Statement was conducted, temporarily halting construction. This changed when President Trump took office, however, as he very quickly signed executive orders in support of both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. Similarly, the Army Corps of Engineers under President Obama said they had no intent to forcibly remove water protectors from the camps, but this too changed under President Trump. Their “eviction date” was February 22, 2016; the camp was ceremoniously burned by water protectors and a few protectors were arrested.

Despite months of advocacy, the pipeline was constructed and oil began flowing in May 2017. The legal fight continues: Native American and environmental groups have asked President Biden to shut down the pipeline. So far, his administration has refused to do so.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe aren’t the only Native community fighting pipeline construction or extractive industries. Here are a few other places that Native activists are standing up for the environment:

  • Native activists in Minnesota are currently protesting Enbridge Energy’s Line 3, a pipeline expansion that would bring oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin. Part of the pipeline would cross wetlands in Minnesota where tribes gather wild rice, fish, and hold treaty rights.
  • The Keystone XL pipeline expansion would bring oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to Nebraska. It would impact several tribal communities along the way, including the Fort Peck Reservation in eastern Montana.
  • The Niitsitapi Water Protectors in Alberta, Canada are currently working against the Grassy Mountain Coal Project and all open-pit mining in the Rocky Mountains in Blackfoot territory, where the Blackfoot hunt, gather food and medicine, and more.

You can make a difference by learning more, writing your Congressional leaders and President Biden, getting involved in your tribal youth council, and helping raise awareness of these issues.

Additional Resources:

 

Establishing Healthy Boundaries with Your Significant Other

Whether you’re at the start of a new relationship or in the...

Why Medical Racism = Genocide

Racism is real. It influences all aspects of our lives, including whose...

Anatomy: Assigned Sex at Birth (Male)

What I Love About My Indigenous Features

As an Indigenous adult, I want to do everything I can to...

How to Study Effectively

When you think of studying, you might feel a sense of dread....

Anatomy: Assigned Sex at Birth (Female)

Best Studying Hacks

For many of us studying is on the top of our to-do...

Being a Strong Indigenous Leader

Indigenous leadership is a hot topic these days. The truth is that...

Does Breast Size Really Matter?

Our Stories Connect Us to Place and People

Indigenous people have always been some of the best storytellers, and recently...

6 Anthems by Queer and Two-Spirit Indigenous Artists to Pump You Up

Music is powerful medicine – especially when it’s coming from people who...

I Strengthen My Nation: Sierra

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in partnership with We R...

Humor is Sexy (Sometimes)

There are many qualities that can make someone sexy or attractive. Physical...

Real Talk About Getting What You Need From Your Boo

In a healthy relationship, we should be appreciated, listened to, and have...

I Strengthen My Nation: Caitlin

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in partnership with We R...

Level Up Your Self-Love Game

We’ve all heard the phrase “love yourself.” But, what does loving yourself...

Environmental Change and Our Mental Health

As Indigenous people, we know that connecting to our land is connecting...

Sexual Orientation: A Spectrum Of Attraction

Real Talk About Sexual Pleasure

Sexual pleasure comes from understanding how your body works and what feels...

When and How to Quit a Job

If you have a job, you’ve probably dreaded going in at least...

Sex Assigned at Birth and Gender Identity: What Is The Difference?

Types of Abortion

Abortion is a safe and effective medical procedure that ends a pregnancy.  ...

Tips for Forming Deeper Relationships

Relationships, whether they are romantic or platonic, impact our daily lives.  This...

Sexual Orientations Explained: Lesbian, Gay, Heterosexual and Bisexual

What I Love About My Body

When I was a teenager there was little to no information about...

Who is Deer Woman from Reservation Dogs?

In “Come and Get Your Love” (Season 1, Episode 5) of the...

Becoming Jane Doe

Alara, an Athabaskan and Tlingit transwoman, found her gender identity through drag....

Staying Balanced in College

Keeping a healthy balance between life, school, and work is what everyone...

6 Tips for Applying for Scholarships

Applying to scholarships for college, graduate school, or even summer programs can...

There’s Heart Here

Roller derby champion. Activist. Cyclist. Follow three indigenous members of the Two...

How Dancing can Teach you to Love your Body

When it comes to our bodies, dancing can provide confidence and a...

Using Culture to Cope with COVID

COVID has brought more than just physical illness to our communities. It’s...

Saying Yes or No: What Is Consent?

Weird (but normal) Body Facts

Our bodies are amazing and house many secrets! Are you curious to...

6 Questions to Help You Find the Right Birth Control for You

Are you curious about what birth control options are out there? Here...

Consent And Communication

How to Navigate Health Insurance

Medical visits and procedures, like x-rays, can be expensive. That is why...

PSA This Relationship Advice is Actually Genius

Relationships – whether they are with our family members, friends, or significant...

Consent Explained: What Is It?

How to Pick the Right College For You

Deciding to go to college is a big decision and one that...

How to Lease Your First Apartment

6 Tips for Renting Your First Apartment  On the lookout for your...

Top Signs Boys are in Puberty

Connecting to Our Land is Connecting to Our Culture

Our relationship with the land is a huge part of our culture...

How to Expand Your Networks

Have you ever heard the saying, “It doesn’t matter what you know,...

Top Signs Girls are in Puberty

Native Women Just Can’t Anymore

Sex can be fun and empowering. However, some of us – especially...

What’s PrEP

PrEP makes preventing HIV easy. But, what is PrEP, and who is...

Taking Care of Your Body During Puberty

How to Make Peace With Your Body

Just like plants need sunshine, nutrients, water, and connection to other beings...

Shutting Down Slut Shamers

Enjoying sex or openly expressing your sexuality doesn’t make you a “slut.”...

Puberty: What Is Doctor Confidentiality?

What you Need to know about your Vagina and Vulva

Have you ever looked at your body and wondered, “Is this normal?”...

Wait what?! That’s what you do with lube?

A little-known fact is that lube can be a real game-changer when...

Accessing Sexual Health Care for Minors

Does Size Really Matter?

As a teenager, we’re all consumed with similar worries. From wanting to...

Access to Abortion

The overturning of Roe v. Wade has caused concern about safe access...

Bodies: Different Shapes and Sizes. All Beautiful!

What is Roe v. Wade?

You might have heard about Roe v. Wade being “overturned.” This article...

How to Use the Pill

The birth control pill (“the pill”) is simple to use and can...

Does Penis Size Really Matter?

The Real Story about Dental Dams

Giving and receiving oral sex can be fun and feel good. But...

How to Use an External (Male) Condom

If you choose to have sex, condoms can protect you and your...

Menstruation: What To Expect

Heads Up: Sex Must Start with Consent

The idea of having sex can be both exciting and nerve-wracking! You...

Getting Tested for HIV

If you’re thinking about getting tested for HIV, it’s normal to have...

Period Hygiene: Tampons, Pads and Menstrual Cups

Here’s What You Should Know About Body Sovereignty

You may have heard that Tribal Nations have sovereignty. This means that...

Why is fentanyl dangerous?

Everyone is talking about fentanyl, and for good reason; it’s more common...

How the Boner Grows

Internal Condom Instructions

***Remember to always check the expiration date and package of any condom...

Condom Shopping Guide

Get the facts!

All About Getting Your Period

Tribal Sovereignty is Everything

Tribal sovereignty is important to who we are as Indigenous people, but...

An Advocate Within

Advice from a Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Member Working in Congress...

Masturbation: Totally Normal

The Land & Ancestral Wellness Wisdom

Much of our knowledge as Indigenous people comes from the land: our...

Be The Change: Tips for Being an Advocate in Your Tribal Community

Getting involved in local politics and advocating to your tribal government is...

Puberty and Finding Out Who You Are

Self-Love Made Me Do It

When a candle is lit, the fire comes from another source- whether...

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Your self-esteem is the way you look at, or perceive, yourself. If...

The Plants of Your Place

National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person’s Awareness Day

Indigenous people have long experienced disproportionately high rates of violence compared to...

Environmental Racism and Seeking Environmental Justice

In the 1970s, the Grassy Narrows Reserve in Canada, home of the...

Culture is Prevention

Resiliency is in Our Blood

Resilience has become a bit of a buzzword in Native Country. A...

Indigenous People for Black Lives Matter

Today as I write this article the world is mourning Daunte Wright,...

Culture is Prevention – Sarah

Indigenous Feminism

Creating a world where people of all genders are respected and valued...

Healing the Land is Healing Us

Western colonial ways of thinking about health tend to focus on physical...

BRAVE: Episode 7

Land Back: Because Colonialism Does Not Spark Joy

In the opening scenes of Rutherford Falls, a Native-inclusive TV series launched...

Breaking Trauma Cycles

Ancestral Gifts We inherit many things from our parents, from their parents,...

BRAVE: Episode 6

What is the MMIW Movement?

MMIW stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. It’s a movement that...

Racism and Anti-Racism

Racism impacts all aspects of our lives. It impacts what policies are...

BRAVE: Episode 5

Indigenous Futurism

What would the world look like if tribal supernatural entities ruled? How...

The Judicial Branch

Sometimes, an advocacy group, business, church, or even a group of individuals...

Brave: Episode 4

The Executive Branch

After a bill passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate,...

The Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch of the U.S. federal government makes laws. The Legislative...

BRAVE: Episode 3

Advocacy in the Three Branches of Government

The United States federal government is divided into three branches: the Executive...

We Are More Than a Mascot

Native American mascots are one of the more controversial topics when it...

BRAVE: Episode 2

Native Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is when someone from the dominant culture (i.e. the most...

Who is Secretary Deb Haaland?

Deb Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and has...

BRAVE: Episode 1

What is Trauma?

Trauma is a distressing experience that can impact us emotionally, mentally, physically,...

Healing From Trauma

After you experience trauma, it might seem like you will never feel...

Sunhawk / Managing Stress

Honor Your Needs

To give yourself the energy you need when you face a difficult...

Learn to Identify Your Emotions

Sometimes we can identify our emotions through how our body feels. When...

Olivia / Keeping It All Inside

Learn to Be Present in Your Body

After trauma, we may feel like our mind is caught up in...

Finding Balance in Your Day-to-Day Activities

Trauma often throws us off- mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically- but there...

Nadira / Reaching Out for Help at College

Form Healthy Relationships with Trusted People

Coping with trauma on your own can be difficult. Think of the...

Cope with Things That Remind You of Trauma

Our brains are always scanning the environment for danger. When we have...

Maiya / Dealing with Anxiety Attacks

Reaching Out For Help

Sometimes the bravest thing we can do when we are struggling is...

Managing Our Mental Health

 Mental health is how we think about things and our conscious...

Kennedy / Seeing Kindness

Self-Care

Self-care is key for taking care of ourselves and achieving our life’s...

Tips for Moving Beyond Blood Quantum

We know blood quantum, or “how much Native blood you have,” isn’t...

Kaytlynn / Combatting Stressors

Blood Quantum Blues

“So… how much Native are you?” The dreaded question every Indigenous person...

Indigenizing Your Self-Care

Self-care means taking care of the whole self – physically, emotionally, mentally,...

Jowun / Self-Care For Me

What Is Tribal Consultation?

Tribes are nations that have the right to make decisions about how...

Self-Compassion

Treating ourselves with compassion can have a big impact on the quality...

Isis / School Stressors

Chickasaw Spaceman

John Herrington, born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, is an enrolled member of the...

Lateral Violence

What is Lateral Violence? Lateral violence- also called internalized colonialism or horizontal...

Aurora / Connection

Indigenous Comic Books

Comics and cartoons have existed for centuries, but it wasn’t until the...

Protect Your Peace from Toxic Relationships

What does it mean to protect your peace? Protecting your peace means...

Ashley / Self-Care Looks Different For Everyone

Reclaiming Our Stories Through Media and Film

As Indigenous people, we know that storytelling is a powerful teaching tool....

Indigenous Star Stories

When you look up at the night’s sky, what do you see?...

#Indigilove Recap Video

Native Crisis Text Line

Sometimes things are too overwhelming to deal with alone. If you need...

IndigiLOVE Campaign

IndigiLOVE is a campaign designed by tribal youth to spread positivity, share...

Siletz DVPI PSA

Substance Misuse

Substance misuse is a health issue that impacts many people. It is...

Supporting A Loved One

It can be painful watching those we love struggle. We may feel...

MMIWG (Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls)

Why Do I Keep Saying “Yes?”

You have done it again! You’ve said ‘yes’ to something you don’t...

Coping with Stress

Everyone feels stressed at times, but stress is not always bad. Sometimes...

Life Is Sacred

Hi Auntie. A family member recently went to Wyoming and took a picture of a sign named "Vision Quest Motel". My family is in an argument about whether the sign is racist or not. I don’t know what to think. Is it racist?

Find Us

Contest

Lessons From Standing Rock

Follow Us

Enter Phone Number to Subscribe:

Msg & Data Rates May Apply.
Text STOP to opt out. No purchase necessary.
Expect 4 msgs/mo.Terms and Conditions

Menu