Activist: Stand firm against supremacists

Katrice Perkins/Daily Mining Gazette Historian and indigenous rights activist Nick Estes speaks at Michigan Technological University on Tuesday evening.

HOUGHTON — Nick Estes, an historian and indigenous rights activist of the Oceti Sakowin (“Great Sioux Nation”), spoke Tuesday at Michigan Technological University about the international struggles and plights of indigenous people and other marginalized communities.

The discussion focused on resistance beyond party politics through stories of Standing Rock, Black Lives Matter and Palestine, while highlighting the common ties of the three.

The Harvard University American Democracy fellow said it is important to highlight these ties to hold the systems accountable and show that the groups are fighting the same system.

“It’s important to highlight, because it’s not that we say the struggles are linked,” he said. “It’s because, as I’ve shown, the state institutions see them as linked. They see that the uprising in Baltimore and Ferguson is linked to Standing Rock.”

“It’s important to understand that we are working together,” Estes said. “Even though it may not seem like it, we’re addressing the same issues.”

He also spoke about the Dakota Access pipeline, reservation displacement, indigenous sovereignty and failures of the Obama administration and the political system as a whole.

To combat the struggles that marginalized people, the “system of white supremacy” needs to be confronted, and people must place care back in treaties and agreements but also support the young people, he said.

“Students will be the next generation of revolutionaries,” said Estes.

“I was hoping that people took away a deeper meaning of history, and that they don’t get mired down in the presentism of Trump and think about the long haul of the struggle that we have engaged in as indigenous people,” said Estes.

Estes answered questions from audience members and talked about the history of native lands.

Anne Newcombe had lots of great things to say about the discussion with Estes.

“It was great,” she said. “I’m really glad that I came.”