Kyle Whyte on DAPL and Environmental Injustice

Written by: Matthew Fletcher

Primary Source : Turtle Talk, March 6, 2017.

Kyle Whyte has posted “The Dakota Access Pipeline, Environmental Injustice, and U.S. Colonialism” on SSRN. It is forthcoming in Red Ink.

Here is the abstract:

Starting in April 2016, thousands of people, led by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal members, gathered at camps to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)—creating the #NoDAPL movement. I am concerned with how critics of #NoDAPL often focus on defending the pipeline’s safety precautions or the many attempts the Army Corps of Engineers made at consulting the Tribe. Yet critics rarely engage what LaDonna Brave Bull Allard calls “the larger story.” To me, as an Indigenous supporter of #NoDAPL, one thread of the larger story concerns how DAPL is an injustice against the Tribe. The type of injustice is one that many other Indigenous peoples can identify with—U.S. settler colonialism. I seek to show how there are many layers to the settler colonial injustice behind DAPL that will take me, by the end of this essay, from U.S. disrespect of treaty promises in the 19th century to environmental sustainability and climate change in the 21st century.

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Matthew Fletcher
Matthew L.M. Fletcher is Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He is the Chief Justice of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Supreme Court and also sits as an appellate judge for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Hoopa Valley Tribe, and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, located in Peshawbestown, Michigan. In 2010, Professor Fletcher was elected to the American Law Institute.