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Indigenous Resistance and the Dakota Access Pipeline

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Stemming from centuries of settler-colonial violence and environmental injustice, #NoDAPL – the largest contemporary Indigenous movement in the United States – was born. The #NoDAPL movement began in April 2016 as a form on Indigenous resistance to the implementation of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Great Sioux Reservation. The purpose of this study is to analyze and evaluate the dynamics of Indigenous resistance in the #NoDAPL movement and how social movement actors in the #NoDAPL movement address broader concerns related to Native American sovereignty, environmental inequality, Indigenous health, and settler colonialism. This sociological research utilizes a case study approach by constructing a comprehensive narrative of the historical context and the contemporary dynamics of the conflict between members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Indigenous allies from other tribes, non-Indigenous allies, Energy Transfer Partners, the state of North Dakota, and the federal government. Through the application of settler-colonial, critical race, medical sociology, and environmental justice theories, I examine the ways that this movement addresses not only the specific issue of the pipeline but also Indigenous Americans' broader concerns about issues of Native American sovereignty, environmental inequality, and the persistence of settler colonialism. The findings reveal that messages of environmental justice, Indigenous health, and Indigenous sovereignty are rooted in the core of Indigenous resistance in the #NoDAPL movement. Existing knowledge and literature in Indigenous sociology is minimal and primarily devoted to the history of settler colonialism and its lasting impacts on tribal communities. Future work should expand Indigenous sociology research and further address the #NoDAPL movement’s relevance to understanding ongoing efforts to decolonize settler-colonial nations and its advances in Indigenous sovereignty, health, and the environmental protection of Indigenous resources.

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Indigenous Resistance and the Dakota Access Pipeline

Stemming from centuries of settler-colonial violence and environmental injustice, #NoDAPL – the largest contemporary Indigenous movement in the United States – was born. The #NoDAPL movement began in April 2016 as a form on Indigenous resistance to the implementation of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Great Sioux Reservation. The purpose of this study is to analyze and evaluate the dynamics of Indigenous resistance in the #NoDAPL movement and how social movement actors in the #NoDAPL movement address broader concerns related to Native American sovereignty, environmental inequality, Indigenous health, and settler colonialism. This sociological research utilizes a case study approach by constructing a comprehensive narrative of the historical context and the contemporary dynamics of the conflict between members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Indigenous allies from other tribes, non-Indigenous allies, Energy Transfer Partners, the state of North Dakota, and the federal government. Through the application of settler-colonial, critical race, medical sociology, and environmental justice theories, I examine the ways that this movement addresses not only the specific issue of the pipeline but also Indigenous Americans' broader concerns about issues of Native American sovereignty, environmental inequality, and the persistence of settler colonialism. The findings reveal that messages of environmental justice, Indigenous health, and Indigenous sovereignty are rooted in the core of Indigenous resistance in the #NoDAPL movement. Existing knowledge and literature in Indigenous sociology is minimal and primarily devoted to the history of settler colonialism and its lasting impacts on tribal communities. Future work should expand Indigenous sociology research and further address the #NoDAPL movement’s relevance to understanding ongoing efforts to decolonize settler-colonial nations and its advances in Indigenous sovereignty, health, and the environmental protection of Indigenous resources.