A Statement of Support for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock

*This article and statement were updated Feb. 15 to reflect the signatures collected from ASLE members who also wished to sign this statement

The leadership of ASLE has composed a statement in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock.  This statement is not a policy or position statement voted on by the membership of ASLE, and the officers are signing as individuals who are affiliated with ASLE.  ASLE members who have signed on are also signing as individuals.

Native American tribes, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, and their allies and supporters have been protesting against the Dakota Access pipeline, being built to transport oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and Montana across the Plains to Illinois.  After months of protests, on December 5, 2016, the Army Corp of Engineers announced it will look for an alternate route for the Dakota Access Pipeline, though this decision is likely to be challenged or reversed in the future.

Below is the text of the statement, as well as a PDF document.

ASLE Standing Rock Statement (PDF)


A Statement of Support for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock

We the undersigned write as members of ASLE: The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment to express our solidarity with the sovereign Oceti Sakowin Oyate (the Great Sioux Nation), the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and tribal nations and allies who are Water Protectors. We affirm: Mni Wiconi–Water is Life. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a threat to the health of the people of Standing Rock and the Missouri River watershed. It threatens the well-being of humans, nonhumans, and ecosystems through its perpetuation of a fossil fuel economy. We thank the Water Protectors for safeguarding the earth and the future for all of us.

We call on the United States government at the local, state, and federal levels to respect the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples. This includes honoring treaties with Oceti Sakowin and the Standing Rock Nation, including the right to informed and un-coerced consent. We call for the protection of sacred sites and burial grounds. We affirm the right to free expression of dissent. We condemn the violence by the police against peaceful protestors, including the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, pepper spray, dogs, and other forms of physical force. We ask the United States government to de-escalate this conflict by demilitarizing the police.

We are encouraged by the recent decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny Energy Transfer Partners a permit to drill under Lake Oahe pending an Environmental Impact Statement. This ban must become permanent. We urge the government and citizens of the United States to renounce the colonial policies of the past in order to seek a more just and sustainable future. As an organization committed to environmental justice, ASLE stands with the Standing Rock people in their quest for justice and cultural survival.


Christoph Irmscher
Provost Professor of English, Department of English
Indiana University, Bloomington
ASLE Co-President

Anthony Lioi
Associate Professor of Liberal Arts and English
The Juilliard School
ASLE Co-President

Sarah Jaquette Ray
Associate Professor, Environmental Studies
Humboldt State University
ASLE Vice President

Catriona Sandilands
Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies
York University
2016 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellow
ASLE Immediate Past President

Amy McIntyre
ASLE Managing Director

Executive Council Members

April Anson
Ph.D. candidate in English
University of Oregon

Byron Caminero-Santangelo
Professor, Department of English
University of Kansas

Elizabeth Dodd
University Distinguished Professor, English Department
Kansas State University

Janet Fiskio
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Comparative American Studies
Oberlin College

Heather Houser
Associate Professor, Department of English
University of Texas at Austin

Erin James
Associate Professor of English
University of Idaho

Aubrey Streit Krug
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Salma Monani
Associate Professor, Environmental Studies
Gettysburg College

Stephen Rust
Career Instructor, Department of English
University of Oregon

Stephen Siperstein
English Teacher
Choate Rosemary Hall

Sarah Wald
Assistant Professor, Department of English
University of Oregon

Lilace Mellin Guignard
Mansfield University

ASLE Members

Matthew Henry, Arizona State University Department of English

Molly Wallace, Queen’s University

Susan Signe Morrison, Professor of English, Texas State University

Edward Kloman, Pingree School

Ann Fisher-Wirth, Professor of English and Director of Environmental Studies, University of Mississipppi

Monica Seger, Assistant Professor of Italian Studies, The College of William & Mary

Gregory M. Mikkelson, McGill Dept. of Philosophy and Sch. of Environment

Brad Monsma, California State University, Channel Islands

Nicholas Ponticello

Gretchen Legler, University of Maine Farmington

David Taylor, Stony Brook University

Gregory Darms

Vera Coleman

Bert Mittchell Scruggs, Associate Professor,  University of California, Irvine

Kyle Bladow, Northland College

Gwen Morgan, Le Moyne College

Julie A. Seton, Indelible Enterprises, LLC

April Anderson

Prof. Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye, Professor of Religion and Environment at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Katherine E. Hummel, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Timothy Sweet, West Virginia University

Nicole Ciulla, University of MN-Twin Cities

Christy Tidwell, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

Emily Roehl, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Mark C. Long, Keene State College

Andrew Ruzkowski, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Lowell Duckert, West Virginia University

John Tallmadge

Ken Cooper, SUNY Geneseo

Laura Wright, Western Carolina University

Louise Westling, University of Oregon

David Spector

Velina Dinkova, University of Colorado at Boulder

Lucille Lang Day, Publisher, Scarlet Tanager Books

Susan Hanson, Texas State University

Andrew M. Richmond, Ohio State University

Robin Murray

Michael P. Cohen

English Brooks, Assistant Professor. Snow College. Ephraim, UT.

Katie Hogan, UNC Charlotte

Ally Fulton

Jeanne Dubino

Michael J. Beilfuss, Oklahoma State University

Jacquelyn Y. McLendon, Professor of English Emerita, William & Mary

Yi-Ting Chang, The Pennsylvania State University

Kelly Sultzbach, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse

David M. J. Carruthers, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON

Jennifer Schell, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Dr Ian Collinson, Macquarie University, Sydney Australia

Dee Horne, Professor, English Department, University of Northern British Columbia

Marta Werbanowska, Graduate student, Howard University

Linda Swanson, Lecturer, Department of English, San Francisco State University

Tonia L. Payne, Ph.D., Nassau Community College-SUNY

John Streamas, Washington State University

Everett Hamner

Dustin Purvis, West Virginia University

Michael Potts, University of South Australia.

Tom Stuckert

Mika Perkiömäki, University of Tampere

Thomas Kealy, Colby-Sawyer College

Demet Intepe, University of Warwick, UK

Jeffrey J Cohen, Professor of English and Director of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, George Washington University

Sinan Akilli, Hacettepe University, Turkey

Anna Banks

Catherine (Kate) Rigby, Bath Spa University

Elaine Ewart, Ph.D candidate, University of Essex

Jeannie Ludlow, Coordinator, Women’s Studies/Assoc Prof., English, Eastern Illinois University

Anny D. Curtius, Associate Professor of Francophone Studies, The University of Iowa

Kristin J. Jacobson, Stockton University

Diana Woodcock

Daryl Farmer

Gia Coturri Sorenson, UNCG

Jessica Cory, Western Carolina University

Lorraine Anderson, Writer, editor, Earthling

Braden Krien, University of Iowa

Jeffrey Santa Ana, Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Katie Fallon

Stacy Alaimo

Linda Hogan, University of Colorado, Emeria

Victoria Saramago, University of Chicago

Harri Salovaara, University of Vaasa

Sophia Bamert, UC Davis

Sue LOvell, Lecturer, Griffith University

Jacob A Goessling

Charles Goodrich, The Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word

Jay Sibara, Assistant Professor, English Department, Colby College

Donna Mendelson, Missoula, MT

Tayo Basquiat, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Bismarck State College

Alan Weltzien, University of Montana Western

Sylvan Goldberg, Stanford University

Summer Harrison, Drew University

James P. Warren, Washington and Lee University

Wendy Burk

Michaelann Nelson, Utah State University

Allison Carruth, UCLA

Kristin Van Tassel, Bethany College

Elizabeth Curry, University of Oregon

Robert S. Emmett

Christopher Bowman, University of Minnesota

Madison Jones, Graduate Research Fellow, Department of English, University of Florida

Amber Stoner

David T Bialock, Associate Professor, Japanese Literature, University of Southern California

Mac J. Wilson,

Shakti Brazier-Tompkins, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Jayson Iwen, University of Wisconsin – Superior

Michelle Menting

Madison Griffin

Rachel Webb Jekanowski, Concordia University (Montreal, Canada)

Anthony P Vital, Professor of English, Transylvania University

William Stroup, Keene State College

Nicholas Triolo, University of Montana

Courtney Carlson, University of Wyoming

Ray Genet, Nature, Art & Language

Audrey Goodman, Georgia State University

Tyler J. Fisk

T. Ravichandran, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur India

Lauren LaFauci, Linköping University

Ursula Timea Rossel, Kryptogeographische Gesellschaft

Cris Larson, University of the Arts