Insight into the conflict at Standing Rock : extractive politics, indigeneity, violence, and local autonomy
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This thesis explores several different aspects of the conflict at Standing Rock, including extractive politics, indigeneity, violence, and the resulting manifestation of local autonomy, particularly that regarding reconciliation, using a political ecology and human rights analytical framework. The purpose of this research was to contribute to the current understanding of conflicts regarding the extraction industry, including the effect that extractive activities and the resulting violence have on local autonomy. The methodology for this thesis is based on a qualitative approach, and included collecting primary data using semi-structured interviews and observations in the field; and secondary data collection from those actors most closely involved in the conflict and other important actors such as the United Nations. Findings of this research suggest that an important outcome of Standing Rock has been the ‘waking up’ of a movement working towards Indigenous rights, which has also resulted in a major movement to defund banks that fund the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Findings also suggest that the effect that Standing Rock has had goes further than issues directly related to the conflict over DAPL, and reaches into other aspects of the social sphere and personal lives. The conclusion, thus, is that violence was present in several forms, including structural, cultural, and direct, and actions taken resulting from the conflict at Standing Rock have resulted in a few tangible outcomes such as the divestment movement and increased social unity.