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As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock
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As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The story of Native peoples' resistance to environmental injustice and land incursions, and a call for environmentalists to learn from the Indigenous community's rich history of activism

Through the unique lens of "Indigenized environmental justice," Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Beacon Press
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Christine
Disclaimer: I won a copy via a Librarything giveaway.

I suppose I could just say that I was reading this on the way back from work and when I looked up, somehow, the trolley had gotten to one stop from mine without me knowing. It was that absorbing. Gilio-Whitaker makes what might have been a somewhat dull topic and engages the reader.

But I suppose you want more than that.

When I mentioned I was reading this book to my friend who teaches in the Urban Studies department and who has worked one v
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David Wineberg
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Native Americans have been enduring an unremitting hell ever since the white Europeans arrived 500 years ago. It continues even today. Zero respect is the main problem. It can also be called White Supremacy, as Dina Gilio-Whitaker does often in As Long As Grass Grows. The vehicle for her analysis is Environmental Justice (EJ) and in particular the Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, where she spent a lot of time researching and reporting. But there is no doubt the real ...more
Ai Miller
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Right off the bat, I received a copy of this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program, and I am grateful to the publisher for the opportunity to read this. I'm also a white settler-descendent living in the territory currently known as the United States.

This book is really solid read on indigenous issues with regard to environmental justice, and how indigenous communities need specific frameworks that are not covered by State initiatives. Gilio-Whitaker crams a LOT into this relativel
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Ben
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In As Long as Grass Grows, Dina Gilio-Whitaker connects a grand arc of social history in a powerful narrative exposing the white supremacist underpinnings of the modern American environmental movement. Drawing on indigenous and environmental justice activists and scholars from across disciplines, Gilio-Whitaker disrupts mainstream white assumptions about environmentalism and posits an essential perspective into contemporary social justice movements.
Gilio-Whitaker's logical precision and outstan
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Hannah
I picked up this book for a few reasons: first, because I am interested in environmentalism but often struggle to see the scope of environmental justice movement beyond small individual choices, like whether it's OK to eat meat, to drive a car, to compost, how to avoid plastic packaging, etc. I was also interested in the topic because while I was aware of Standing Rock and the #NoDAPL movement, I felt that I didn't have a good grasp of exactly what happened there and why, and wanted to contextua ...more
Bob H
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive and, to many communities involved in environmental issues, instructive history of the native peoples of North America and their relationships and conflicts with federal agencies and the environmental movement. It's a well-researched survey of their struggle, beginning with the early land confiscation, population displacement and outright genocide, and continuing to the present day. We learn of the native peoples' ties to the land and their separation from traditional food sources ...more
Warren
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very informative of historical and current issues regarding land, water, mineral rights legal battles waged and being waged for the Indigenous American peoples. Could be used as a text book.
Emma Ito
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you care about the major social movements happening in our society right now (which you absolutely should), then this is required reading. Published in 2019, this book is an excellent historical work by Colville Confederated Tribes researcher & activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker, that highlights past & current wrongs against Indigenous peoples in America & additionally offers advice & important words of warning for non-Indigenous allies. Not only is this filled with need-to-know American history, b ...more
Tallon Kennedy
77 / C+

As Long As Grass Grows is a really good book for those committed to Indigenous and environmental justice. The book uses the NoDAPL protests, the largest and most visible act of Native resistance against environmental racism in recent memory, as a frame for understanding how Indigenous and environmental issues have intersected historically and contemporaneously. The book shows how settler-colonialism has systematically caused harm to Indigenous people through depriving Native communities o
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Kathy
Oh my, how to do this brief and imperiling book justice? This revealed so much to me about how all kinds of environmental justice-seeking in 2020 actively self-sabotage without the direct inclusion of both Indigenous consultation + consent.

Chapter 4, "Food Is Medicine, Water Is Life: American Indian Health and the Environment" and Chapter 6, "Hearts Not on the Ground: Indigenous Women’s Leadership and More Cultural Clashes" taught me the most new information about how continuing U.S. policies of
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Colin
Required reading. Provides a wide-ranging historical overview and outlines the fundamental white supremacy/colonialism in law, health, and the "preservation of nature." Also gives examples of successful coalition work. Recommended.
Cristina
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is fantastic, but I kept on getting hung up on the acronyms, names I couldn’t pronounce, dates, and laws that it took me over a week to read such a short book. I had to reread pages over and over again. That aside, this book opens your mind and shifts your worldview.
Ben Rogers
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful and important book

3.8/5
Sarah Meisch
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this book as a part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program

I wanted to read this book because my education in terms of indigenous Americans is extremely lacking. It seems to me that we (supposedly progressively minded Americans) are just beginning to wake up to the ongoing oppression of American Indians. In my own town there has recently been controversy over using the traditional native name for a local lake. We take one step forward in recognizing that we live on colonized land onl
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Dree
While it is commonly understood that undesirable land uses have historically (and still) been located near/in poor communities, which are often of color. In this book Gilio-Whitaker looks at how that has affected Native Americans in ways that are different than other poor/black/brown communities--and what they have tried and are continuing to try to remedy these situations.

This book is full of information about Environmental Justice--what it means and how it applies to whom, with lots of example
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Bethany
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“[Environmental justice] frameworks must be able to situate tribal peoples’ struggles to protect sacred places with their relationality to land, not with artificial constructions of identity.”

This slim book does a lot of heavy lifting to make connections between many broad, complex topics. It left me completely won over by the argument that any act on behalf of environmentalism or ecological ethics must be centered in decolonization and indigenous practice with a wide understanding of genocide
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Philip McCarty
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book offers up a great intro to many modern Native American issues through an environmental justice lens. At the books core, the author sets out to draw connections between the environmental justice movement and its ties to Indigenous rights. She makes a convincing argument throughout, laying out many examples of this intersection. I found that the book was organized in an easy to read manner, being broken up into chapters based on different subjects, such as genocide, health, and non-Nativ ...more
Janilyn Kocher
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The author makes a compelling argument about how the Native Americans have been cheated, swindled, and taken advantage of through the centuries. Her perspectives are sure to have readers take notice. Facts and history are more important now as they reveal to people how things really are. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC.
Jason
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is built to be a textbook, so it's very information heavy. But if you're ready for that, there is so much useful and eye-opening information here, and it's definitely worth reading.
Terri Pahucki
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such an important book. I listened to the audio version and now need to get a paper copy as I know I will be using the ideas and information in this book often in my work.
Ryan
Apr 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: anthropology
At its best, Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock was frustrating. At its worst, it was inaccurate and disappointing.

A scholar of American Indian Studies, Gilio-Whitaker attempts to provide a compelling and timely argument for the indigenization of environmental justice. With the ever increasing focus on indigenous communities in the United States because of the No DAPL movement, this is an important and
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Kati
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a first-read win here on Goodreads. That said, my opinions are not impacted by the fact that I received this copy for free.

I feel as though I made a mistake in requesting this book. While the topic of environmental justice is vitally important, this book read more as an academic text or journal article than as something that was meant for the layperson to understand. The first 5 chapters leant so heavily on academic-speak that I struggled to read more than 3 or 4 pages a
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David Martínez
Jul 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I remember listening to Gilio-Whitaker take questions from a group of college students who had read 'As Long as Grass Grows', one of which was "Who do you write for?" Without hesitation, Gilio-Whitaker answered: "For white people." Then quickly added that "they're the ones who need to hear this the most." In my experience, I don't hear many Indigenous authors claim white readers as their primary audience. However, when applied to 'As Long as Grass Grows' the author's answer to the student's ques ...more
Heidi
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I listened to As Long As Grass Grows on Audible, which definitely wasn't the best choice—with so many dates, court cases, laws, treaties, etc. to keep track of, it was harder to soak up the overall message of each chapter. A lot of other reviewers have mentioned this too, so in the future I'll try to take those warnings a little more seriously (especially since I've struggled with academic books in the past).

Another issue I had was the lack of meaningful coverage of Indigenous communities outsid
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Erik
Jul 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This book represents a huge missed opportunity: to help expand the alliance between Native nations and non-native environmentalists.

Gilio-Whitaker starts with the multicultural protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline and offers many other hopeful stories of how this kind of coalition has already saved places from destructive development and resource extraction. And she offers good advice to non-native environmentalists on diplomacy to help them work more effectively with Indian people on join
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Bookworm
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I was very excited to read this book to learn more about how Natives have been fighting against environmental racism and injustice, the damage and theft of their lands, etc. I'll admit I was a bit hesitant because I've read another book by author Gilio-Whitaker and wasn't that excited by the text. But I thought this would be an education read anyway.

Gilio-Whitaker gives the reader an overview what environmental justice and resistance means to Natives, how they engage in it, why they do so, and m
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Jon
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
"As Long As Grass Grows", by Dina Gilio Whitaker, Native American of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington state, is not a quick read. The book is an extensively researched, documented and detailed scholarly work incorporating history, ""settler history", treaty history, and the ways environmental destruction drastically harmed Native peoples, disrupting a food chain their bodies and culture had adapted to over millennia, The conquerors hold an anthropocentric view of the world - that i ...more
Heidi
An overview of the ways indigenous communities have been fighting for the environment in everything from legal battles to cultural and philosophical reimaginations of the world. There were a lot of individual stories that were interesting in and of themselves but my largest takeaway was the mental model of how people function in the world - a web of mutual responsibility and acknowledgement of the individual outside of human consciousness. The colonial injustices were many and are described, and ...more
Eric
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found lots of food for thought in Dina Gilio-Whitaker book, both good & bad. I found myself referring to her notes section (very well done!) more than normal. Her acceptance of Marx's dialectics for defining social or environmental justice really rankled me. But on the other side, I found her descriptions of the "Unsettling America" movement clearer than anything else I've read about it. She is clearly a work in progress, still has a lot to learn, and she obviously knows it. Her writing style ...more
Leif
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
For a Masters thesis expanded into a book, this is pretty good. It functions as a sustained voice of channelled fury, which suits the topic, and the chapters can be quite scattered as they pace from subject to subject in place to place. I'm not as sure about the homogenization that Gilio-Whitaker asserts is endemic to Indigenous peoples from time to time, and there are certainly some places where unresolved political contradictions appear without sensitivity - I am thinking about the thorny cros ...more
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Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is the policy director and a senior research associate at the Center for World Indigenous Studies and teaches American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos. She is the coauthor, with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, of “All the Real Indians Died Off” and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans. She lives in San Clemente, California.

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