How two centuries of Indigenous resistance created the movement proclaiming "Water is life"
In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century. Water Protectors knew this battle for native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anticolonial struggle would continue. In Our History Is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance that led to the #NoDAPL movement. Our History Is the Future is at once a work of history, a manifesto, and an intergenerational story of resistance.
Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico.
"Embedded in the centuries-long struggle for Indigenous liberation resides our best hope for a safe and just future for everyone on this planet. Few events embody that truth as clearly as the resistance at Standing Rock, and the many deep currents that converged there. In this powerful blend of personal and historical narrative, Nick Estes skillfully weaves together transformative stories of resistance from these front lines, never losing sight of their enormous stakes. A major contribution." --Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything
"In Our History Is the Future historian Nick Estes tells a spellbinding story of the 10 month Indigenous resistance at Standing Rock in 2016, animating the lives and characters of the leaders and organizers, emphasizing the powerful leadership of the women. Alone this would be a brilliant analysis of one of the most significant social movements of this century. But embedded in the story and inseparable from it is the centuries long history of the Oceti Sakowin' resistance to United States' genocidal wars and colonial institutions. And woven into these entwined stories of Indigenous resistance is the true history of the United States as a colonialist state and a global history of European colonialism. This book is a jewel--history and analysis that reads like the best poetry--certain to be a classic work as well as a study guide for continued and accelerated resistance." --Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States
"When state violence against peaceful protest at Standing Rock became part of the national consciousness, many noticed Native people for the first time--again. Our History Is the Future is necessary reading, documenting how Native resistance is met with settler erasure: an outcome shaped by land, resources, and the juggernaut of capitalism. Estes has written a powerful history of Seven Fires resolve that demonstrates how Standing Rock is the outcome of history and the beginning of the future." --Louise Erdrich, author of the National Book Award winner The Round House
"A mindful and dynamic text. Nick Estes' narrative power gives dynamism and detailed realism to some of the most formative movements of our time. The book is expansive in its isolation and focus. The book embodies resistance and shows the true effort it takes to maintain it." --Terese Mailhot, author of Heartberries
"With scrupulous research and urgent prose, [Nick Estes] declares the DAPL protest a flowering of indigenous resistance with roots deep in history and Native sacred land ... A powerful work, Estes's condemnation of the United States government is clear and resonant." --Publishers Weekly