On this episode, Roqayah and Kumars interview Ruth H. Hopkins, a Lakota and Dakota of the Oceti Sakowin, or Great Sioux Nation, and an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Nation. She’s also a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network and co-founder of Last Real Indians. Ruth has recently been involved in a massive, sustained direct action campaign to stop construction of the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline, a movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other indigenous groups.
We talk to Ruth about the Sacred Stone encampment which has now ballooned to over 8,000 people from roughly a dozen when the camp formed in April to resist the construction of this pipeline. We discuss the unprecedented nature of the unification of native tribes in opposition to this pipeline, solidarity which hasn’t been seen since Tecumseh united tribes in opposition to settler colonialism at the beginning of the 19th century.
Ruth explains that even historic enemies have set aside their differences to join forces, unity which she sees lasting long after the encampment disbands. Ruth also describes the vicious repression they’ve faced, including violence from private security who even released attack dogs on protesters. We discuss how this movement seems to be entering mainstream consciousness, and what implications this shift has for both practical and tactical organizing strategy.
We also discuss how to increase coordination between seemingly separate, yet actually interconnected, struggles. If you want to learn more or get involved:
Places to donate/groups to support:
Follow Ruth H. Hopkins on twitter at @RuthHHopkins.