The events at Standing Rock in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline can serve as a meaningful teaching lesson. In response, Indigenous scholars and activists with the New York Stands with Standing Rock Collective have created the #StandingRockSyllabus.
Similar to previous “syllabi” like the #FergusonSyllabus and the #ColinKaepernickSyllabus, the latest hashtag provides reading material and information about the topic. On the collective’s website, some materials include PDFs for articles, key terms, maps showing the gradual loss of Native land in the Dakotas and a timeline.
The collective writes on its website:
The different sections and articles place what is happening now in a broader historical, political, economic, and social context going back over 500 years to the first expeditions of Columbus, the founding of the United States on institutionalized slavery, private property, and dispossession, and the rise of global carbon supply and demand. Indigenous peoples around the world have been on the frontlines of conflicts like Standing Rock for centuries. This syllabus brings together the work of Indigenous and allied activists and scholars: anthropologists, historians, environmental scientists, and legal scholars, all of whom contribute important insights into the conflicts between Indigenous sovereignty and resource extraction. While our primary goal is to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, we recognize that Standing Rock is one frontline of many around the world.
Some of the reading material’s themes include “Basics of Settler Colonialism,” “Indigenous History of North America” and “Policing Nations: Settler Colonialism, Police and State Violence.” As most American history courses taught in the United States omit the violence inflicted upon Native Americans, these readings could be vital for some to understanding struggles today.
Educational institutions are already reacting to the syllabus. The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education is holding a meeting for a reading group on the material tomorrow (November 22). Celebrities like Mark Ruffalo (“The Incredible Hulk”) have also expressed support for the resource, which has been out since October.