Nick Estes is an Indigenous organizer, journalist, and historian. He has cofounded The Red Nation and Red Media. In 2019 he was awarded the Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for nonfiction, and in 2020 he was honored as the Marguerite Casey Foundation's freedom scholar. He was previously an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico, but is a faculty member at the University of Minnesota as of 2022.
- These states have contentious relations with tribal nations to begin with, right? We didn’t sign treaties with the state governments, but yet the state governments participate in the continued criminalization of indigenous people for trying to uphold our treaty rights. And so, why are we criminals, you know, and activists, who are just trying to protect land and water? And when we go back to the treaties, in like the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, which the Keystone XL pipeline contravenes and trespasses through treaty-protected territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, we’re not asking the state of South Dakota to do anything radical. We’re not asking nonindigenous people to do anything radical. All we’re asking them to do is to uphold their own Constitution. Your government signed the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty with us. It’s your responsibility to uphold that treaty, as well. And, you know, your own Constitution says that treaties are the supreme law of the land.
- Interview with Democracy Now (March 2019)
- There is also a growing alliance with nonindigenous communities who are seeing value in indigenous rights, and specifically treaty rights. And, to me, that is the most hopeful sort of sign of this current resistance movement, is that indigenous rights are at the forefront, because they protect everybody’s rights.
- The first U.S. invasion, which was Lewis and Clark, who came through—who trespassed through our territory and were stopped by our leadership.
- Interview with Democracy Now (March 2019)
- It’s no coincidence that Indian people are in the same department that manages wildlife and federal lands
- Interview with Democracy Now (May 2022)
- The first Thanksgiving story is — begins with the Pequot massacre by members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which really marks sort of — in my opinion, marks sort of the mythology of the United States as a settler-colonial country founded on sort of genocide to create, ironically, peace.
- I think when we think about climate change, oftentimes the question of climate change really centers on market-driven solutions, such as, you know, green capitalism, and how do we create markets that sort of incentivize transition to sustainable economies, right? And I think, really, what we’re kind of like beating around the bush is, is that it’s the system of capitalism that led us into this economic crisis to begin with. It’s the sort of designation of certain populations in certain territories as disposable, that has led us into our current epoch of global climate change. And so, when we talk about who’s going to bear the most burden when we transition, you know, out of the carbon economy, it most likely is going to be those populations that have historically been colonized
- Capitalism is fundamentally a social relation. It’s a profit-driven system, whereas Indigenous sort of ways of relating is one about reciprocity and a mutual sort of respect, not just with the human, but also with the nonhuman world. And we’re undergoing, you know, the sixth mass — sixth massive extinction event, which is caused by not just climate change, but is caused by capitalist sort of systems and the profit-driven sort of motive of our current economic and social system.
- Instead of doing to settler society what they did to us — genociding, removing, excluding — there’s a capaciousness to Indigenous resistance movements that welcomes in non-Indigenous peoples into our struggle, because that’s our primary strength, is one of relationality, one of making kin
- We can see that settler colonialism in Israel — or, in Palestine, is really an extension of settler colonialism in North America.
Our History Is the Future:Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (2019) edit
- We are challenged not just to imagine, but to demand the emancipation of earth from capital. For the earth to live, capitalism must die.
Quotes about Nick Estes edit
- Our History Is the Future establishes Nick Estes as one of the leading scholars of our time.
- Jordan T. Camp blurb for the book
- This book is a jewel-history and analysis that reads like the best poetry-certain to be a classic work as well as a study guide for continued and accelerated resistance."
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz blurb for Our History Is the Future:Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (2019)
- His books include Our History Is the Future, which tells the history of Indigenous resistance over two centuries, offering a road map for collective liberation and a guide to fighting life-threatening climate change.
- Estes continues in the legacy of his ancestors, from Black Elk to Vine Deloria: he turns Indigenous history right-side up as a story of self-defense against settler invasion.
- Sandy Grande blurb for Our History Is the Future:Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (2019)
- Nick Estes is a forceful writer whose work reflects the defiant spirit of the #NoDAPL movement.
- Julian Brave Noisecat blurb for Our History Is the Future:Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (2019)