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Nonviolent Resistance in Indigenous Communities

Nonviolent Resistance in Indigenous Communities


Indigenous communities have a long history of successful nonviolent resistance. The Indigenous Environment Network announces protest at US Bank Stadium on the eve of the Super Bowl.

In the News:

Indigenous and Environmental Justice Groups to Rally at US Bank Headquarters to Protest the Bank’s Investment in Pipeline Projects.

It is essential that we acknowledge the physical, economic, and psychological trauma that U.S. colonialism has inflicted on indigenous communities. It is also essential that we acknowledge historic and momentous moments of resistance led by indigenous people.

Halee Kirkwood

The history of people indigenous to the North American continent is often glossed over in education…If indigenous history is covered, students are likely to hear a tragic but vague narrative of massacre, disease, and death, a narrative devoid of the specific political and tribal context that is vital to understanding the colonial and imperial relationship between Native communities and the U.S. This renders indigenous bodies invisible. This also contributes to the concealment of contemporary indigenous rights movements, some of which are happening right now.

Peace Science Insights

  • Nonviolent resistance has had greater success than violent resistance in Indigenous struggles against settler oppression and exploitation in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Indigenous civil resistance—which affirms the sovereign rights of Native communities as nations—is unique among other forms of civil resistance in North America insofar as it can leverage treaty rights in its struggles for justice.
  • Common issues at stake in Indigenous civil resistance movements include treaty rights, environmental protection, tribal health care, law enforcement, borders/boundaries, tribal dignity, consultation (on various policies affecting tribes), and basic sovereignty.
  • Indigenous civil resistance movements are building connections with other Indigenous allies globally and with non-Indigenous settler allies locally, who can support Native-led civil resistance movements in various ways, including as a protective presence at actions or protests.


Peace Science Digest Vol. 2, Special Issue: Nonviolent Resistance. “Indigenous Civil Resistance and Treaty Rights” 

Press Release: Indigenous Environment Network

7 Acts of Native Resistance They Don’t Teach in School. By Halee Kirkwood for Common Dreams. 5 Jan. 2018.

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