Environmental Conflict in Focus: The Dakota Access Pipeline

Dakota Access Pipeline protest

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Teachers may sometimes hesitate to broach controversial subjects with their students, for legitimate reasons. However, these are often the subjects most likely to spark their interest! This is certainly true of environmental issues, which can be readily illustrated with real-world examples, from oil spills to air pollution to the movement toward organic and sustainable foods. April 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—presenting a timely opportunity to explore environmental conflict with our students.

To begin a factual and fair discussion of environmental issues in your classroom, explore a recent—and unresolved—environmental controversy with your students using this article on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This comprehensive overview of the DAPL project, controversy, and ongoing legal challenges will prompt discussions of environmental conflict as well as issues of tribal sovereignty at the intersection of social and environmental justice:

This article is part of ABC-CLIO’s The American Indian Experience database, a platform dedicated to exploring the historical and contemporary practices and tribulations of more than 150 Native American tribes from all regions of North America. Click here to activate your free preview of this database and gain access to:

  • Hundreds of primary source documents, including traditional stories, treaties, speeches, maps, images, and videos
  • Investigate activities designed to spark student inquiry into historical questions and dilemmas
  • A CLIOview tool students can use to understand the demographics of the American Indian population, including individual tribe populations, education levels, and more

This resource is brought to you by ABC-CLIO products for classrooms and libraries: