Our History is the Future by Nick Estes
This tells the history of indigenous resistance movements within the United States. Starting with a prologue about the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the author takes us back to the first years of colonialism and traces the land rights movements of indigenous people.
History often stops talking about indigenous peoples after colonizers arrive. Estes shows the much longer history of indigenous peoples’ fight, all the way up until the present day.
Nonfiction, social justice, history
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.
I had heard of barely any of this history, and it was wonderful to finally learn it. Indigenous peoples have fought against the classification of land as private property and resisted countless efforts to stamp out their way of life, most notably the Carlisle boarding school, which took children and sought to cut them off from their culture.
It exposes the dark side of the Obama administration, when Obama ignored indigenous protests against the DAP and allowed police brutality against them to go unchecked. This is something rarely talked about among liberal circles.
It’s a highly important book discussing historical events that hardly anyone knows about, written in a way that holds your attention. I am grateful to my library for picking this book as it’s monthly read.