This article examines role of culture in the struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. To better frame this analysis, I introduce the concept of “racialized political cultures of opposition.” I turn to the Lakota prophecy of the “Black Snake” to show how water protectors refashioned an old folkloric belief to 1) name the source of the problem, 2) connect their immediate concerns to the centuries long history of colonialism, and 3) mobilize resistance. Important to this analysis is how an assemblage of cultural elements enabled water protectors to connect their struggle to non-Lakota and non-Indigenous peoples.
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