Amid the flooding, I drove all over the reservation to survey the damage, eventually arriving at Wounded Knee, site of the infamous 1890 massacre and 1973 American Indian Movement occupation. I parked and trudged up a small hill, the mud pulling at the heels of my boots. At the top was a mass grave of one hundred forty-six Lakota. Feeling the weight of this solemn place, I was compelled to offer a prayer. Lingering awhile at the peak, I watched residents of a nearby housing development walk along the highway to the closest post office to collect rations from the National Guard. I checked Twitter and learned that Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, had driven onto the reservation with a convoy of military vehicles carrying potable water. She was not welcome. Just two weeks earlier, Noem had passed a bill that held protesters opposing projects like the Keystone XL oil pipeline liable for what the state called “riot boosting.” (The Oglala were among the tribes opposed to the pipeline and the bill.) Here before me, in one scene, were the interlocking forces of genocide, ecological apocalypse, resistance, and repression—the imperial roots of the climate crisis and their colonial fallout.
After my visit to Wounded Knee, I could not in good conscience write the story that my HuffPost editors had assigned. A fifteen-hundred-word article treating the housing program as a worthy but isolated effort felt like a betrayal of the material I had gathered on the ground. As an Indigenous journalist, I decided the only appropriate way to tell a story like this was to simultaneously hold in frame poverty, climate change, and resilience, and to layer all this on the history of colonization, settlement, and genocide—one apocalypse on top of another.
To be Indigenous to North America is to be part of a postapocalyptic community and experience. Indigenous journalists have always grappled with earth-shattering stories: either as historical background to current events or in the deep despair of the still-unfolding legacy of Indigenous dispossession, displacement, and death that brought nations like the United States and Canada into being. This perspective tests the limits of journalism, asking reporters to cover marginalized subjects unfamiliar to most readers with an eye on the people, histories, and systems buried and erased by colonization—all without losing the thread of the narrative. […]
THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING
On this date at Daily Kos in 2006—NSA Surveillance: How It Puts You in Danger:
Polls are all over the place on Americans’ views on the NSA program, depending on the precise wording of the question, but for the sake of argument, I’ll grab the recent CNN poll that claims roughly half of the population thinks it’s okay for the feds to conduct surveillance and collect data without a warrant. Based on this, I assume most of us have friends, family members or co-workers who’ve uttered the words: I have nothing to hide, so why should I care about NSA surveillance?
Here’s a primer on why they should care.
It puts you at risk for identify theft … and IT’S ILLEGAL
From all reports we’ve heard about the secretive NSA program, it’s a vast vacuum operation that collects data, stores it and shares that information with other agencies, all without a warrant. Anything that’s done with electronic transmission is trackable in practical terms – meaning online credit card purchases and bill paying, ATM transactions, paying for groceries with a debit/credit card. PINS, passwords, Social Security numbers, driver’s license identifier information, bank account numbers, all are available … all in the hands of federal agencies and their employees. […]