Intervention – “Water is Life and Life is Sovereignty: Context and Considerations for Critical Geographers”

AntipodeFoundation.org

Water is Life and Life is Sovereignty: Context and Considerations for Critical Geographers

Andrew Curley
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
apcurley@email.unc.edu

On 4 December 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers denied the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) the necessary permit to drill beneath the Missouri River and bring more oil to the international market. This is a great victory for indigenous people and should be treated as such. A small tribal government, saying mni waconi or “water is life”, took on the most powerful industry in the world in the interest of our collective sustainability and they won. It’s clearly not a total victory. But it is a sizeable achievement. The tribe had to challenge: state and local authority; thuggish police; regulators in league with oil interests; the harassment of the US Republican Party; and the indifference of the US Democratic Party. In terms of political…

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