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Killing the Black Snake — Resistance at Standing Rock

Thursday, March 30, 2017 06:00 - 09:00 pm

Opening Panel | Indigenous Rising: Standing Rock and Beyond with Cheryl Angel (Sicangu/Oohenumpa), Jaskiran Dhillon, and Elizabeth Ellis (Peoria)

6:00 pm | Welcome and viewing

With the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), the time of the Sioux prophecy foretelling the arrival of a black snake (Zuzéča Sápa) that would poison the water before destroying the Earth has come to pass. Originally slated to cross the Missouri River near the mostly white city of Bismarck, the pipeline was rerouted to carry crude oil under Lake Oahe, the main source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Answering the call of The Great Sioux Nation, indigenous people from more than 300 tribal nations across North America traveled to North Dakota to stop the construction of the pipeline, making this gathering the largest Native convergence in over a century. In a matter of weeks, thousands more—indigenous and non-indigenous—made the journey, settling in three camps near the site.

Reuters freelance photographer Stephanie Keith documented the protest encampment for 36 continuous days from the end of October through the beginning of December 2016. Keith’s photographs vividly document the actions undertaken by the Water Protectors in defense of the territory and the violent police repression with which they were met. They also immerse the viewer in the political community that emerged in the encampments. Her photographs capture an extraordinary moment in the long history of indigenous resistance--one in which unity, solidarity, direct action, and even fleeting victory, were enacted in a clearing on a Missouri River floodplain.

Indigenous Rising: Native American Activism in the Era of Standing Rock

6:30-8:00 pm | Panel (Reception to follow)

Images of the burning Standing Rock encampment--set aflame by protesters themselves in anticipation of the final police eviction on February 22--opened a new chapter in the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the struggle for indigenous land and sovereignty. As tribal elders, Water Protectors and the #NoDAPL movement assess the lessons and victories of Standing Rock, new arenas of struggle proliferate in the courts, in the movement for divestment, and in the streets of cities across the United States.

Please join us for a discussion with Standing Rock elder and activist Cheryl Angel (Sicangu/Oohenumpa), and activists/scholars Jaskiran Dhillon and Elizabeth Ellis(Peoria) about where the movement stands and what lies ahead.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University.

Hemispheric Institute
20 Cooper Square, fifth floor
New York, NY 10003

Stephanie Keith is an award-winning news and editorial photographer whose work focuses on protest, social issues and religion. Her photos from a Reuters assignment to cover the Dakota Access Pipeline protest at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation were chosen for several best photos 2016 by the New York Times, The Washington Post, and Reuters among other media outlets. In 2012, Stephanie was named Reporter of the Year by the Newswomen's Club of New York for her independently produced photos of Occupy Wall Street.

Cheryl Angel is a Lakota woman, Sicangu/Oohenumpa from South Dakota, and a frontline water protector at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, where she supported Sacred Stone Camp starting in April 2016. While there, she worked to integrate deep prayer with nonviolent direct action, guiding two women-led actions in resistance to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Cheryl recently traveled to Mexico to participate in the Caravan for Peace and Life, a movement seeking to raise awareness for the care of the Earth and its watersheds.

Jaskiran Dhillon is a first generation academic and advocate 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. Jaskiran 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.

Elizabeth Ellis is a historian of early American and Native America. She is also a citizen of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and an activist. Her work focuses on Native appropriation and representation, gender-based violence on reservations, the tribal recognition process, and the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the McNeil Center for early American Studies and will begin full time in the history department at NYU in the fall.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings and 20 Cooper Square is a wheelchair accessible venue.