The Next Standing Rock Is Everywhere

The Next Standing Rock Is Everywhere

Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrator in 2016 (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images) Subscribe There won’t be another Standing Rock.

At its height, the mobilization against the Dakota Access Pipeline, beginning in 2016, was a historic Native-led movement against the same kind of land grabs Indigenous people have been fighting for centuries. The protests, on their own, were similar to hundreds of others; but the brutality of the private security response, the grassroots and social media campaigns led by Native youth, and the nation’s tense political climate in 2016 combined to temporarily break through the barrier between Native issues and the mainstream media. There was no turning away from the images of police tear-gassing and siccing dogs on Native bodies, because there was nowhere else to turn. This was America as it has always been, only now for all to see. It was a wake-up call that many might still like to mash the “Snooze” button on, while pretending it never happened.

In the past three years, numerous media outlets , The New Republic among them, have predicted a variety of similar pipeline controversies could be the “next Standing Rock.” But the exercise misses something fundamental about the new age of environmental justice.

Pipeline companies—and their lobbyists and ex-employees they’ve planted in the government—are learning. The pitch-to-pipeline process, so often practiced at the expense of marginalized communities, has been honed to perfection. Every day, energy companies participate in the political process that sets the rules of play. With each passing state legislative budget session and hurried […]

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