AINSP Stands With Standing Rock

We, the affiliated faculty of the University of Iowa’s American Indian and Native Studies Program, write in support of the Standing Rock community’s protest against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. As teachers and scholars of Native American history, we are all too familiar with our country’s long history of non-Native corporations and governmental entities trampling on treaty rights and unjustly exposing indigenous communities to environmental toxins. This represents yet another chapter in that history.

We see this as a teaching moment, a chance to expose the University of Iowa’s students, who arrive to classes each day expecting to learn new things and hear different viewpoints, to the situation on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.  By incorporating contemporary issues into our classes, it helps to clarify the relevance of the history of treaties, of federal American Indian policy, and American Indian culture to events like the protracted struggle over the pipeline. 

We thus take to heart the words of Sicagu/Oglala Lakota tribal member, Iyuskin American Horse, who explained in a recent editorial opinion in The Guardian: “We are not protesters, we are protectors . . . We are standing together in prayer and fighting for what is right.”

AINSP denounces the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline due to its threat to the way of life of current and future generations of Native peoples in the area.