Jaskiran Dhillon continues the “Just Environments” series with a reflection on the Standing Rock Sioux’s resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, asking us to consider what this struggle teaches us about the dominant environmental justice movement. Pointing to a longstanding history of settler colonialism, which has heavily relied on environmental destruction and extraction, Dhillon argues that environmental justice must be framed as a struggle for Indigenous sovereignty. She connects Standing Rock to multiple frontlines of resistance around the world, highlighting broader linkages between political strategies advancing decolonization and the environmental justice movement.
Jaskiran Dhillon is a first-generation academic and organizer who grew up on Treaty Six Cree Territory in Saskatchewan, Canada. Her work has been published in The Guardian, Cultural Anthropology, Truthout, Public Seminar, Feminist Formations, and Decolonization among other venues. Her first book, Prairie Rising: Indigenous Youth, Decolonization, and the Politics of Intervention (University of Toronto Press, 2017), provides a critical, ethnographic account of state interventions in the lives of urban Indigenous youth. She is also the guest editor of a special issue of Environment and Society that foregrounds Indigenous resistance to, and theorizing of, climate change and coeditor, along with Nick Estes, of #NODAPL and Mni Wiconi: Reflections on Standing Rock to be released in 2018 with University of Minnesota Press. Dhillon is an assistant professor of global studies and anthropology at The New School in New York City and a member of the New York City Stands with Standing Rock Collective.