2022 One Book South Dakota Announced

'Our History Is the Future'

The South Dakota Humanities Council has announced its common read for adults, the 2022 One Book South Dakota: Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance by Nick Estes.

Estes, a citizen of the Kul Wicasa Oyate (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe), discussed Our History Is the Future at the South Dakota Festival of Books in 2019, soon after the book was released. Our History is the Future places into historical context the Indigenous-led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The 2022 One Book was announced during a special livestream during SDHC's 2021 Day of Giving celebration.

Reading and Discussion Around the State

Since 2003, SDHC's One Book program has encouraged people across South Dakota to read and discuss the same book through the year. Readers around the state, including those participating in SDHC-funded book club programs, will consider the issues raised in Estes's book leading up to the 2022 South Dakota Festival of Books in Brookings, where he'll be featured as the keynote speaker.

"This is a book that talks about timely issues in terms of protests and actions and the water protectors movement, but also puts them in a context of a couple of centuries worth of Indigenous resistance to the kinds of injustices that have been perpetrated on Native American people and their land," said Festival of Books Director Jennifer Widman.

"The book ties that all together with a focus on the Oceti Sakowin — the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes of South Dakota."

This year, SDHC will participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities special initiative A More Perfect Union, which emphasizes the importance of the humanities in the United States while supporting projects that will help Americans commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026.

In conjunction with the initiative, SDHC will use Our History Is the Future to reflect on the Native experience in South Dakota — including ongoing resistance to injustice, oppression, colonialism, and environmental degradation.

Pointing the Way Forward

Estes' book will be an asset; he's received critical acclaim for his scholarly and thoughtful approach to the Standing Rock protests and other Indigenous movements.

"Our History Is The Future points a way forward, with solidarity and without sentimentality, to an idea of Indigenous land alive with ancestry and renewal," wrote NPR in a review emphasizing the critical historical lessons of the Standing Rock protests — and Estes' book.

"Standing Rock is the model for the present, bound to the past, to reckon with the future."

Estes, who has researched the politics of water and the Missouri River for more than a decade, is looking forward to discussing the book with South Dakotans and sharing the stories within it.

"I'm just very humbled by the recognition," Estes said. "It's not just about me but it's about the people who made the book possible. The stories that were shared with me."

About Nick Estes

Nick Estes, a citizen of the Kul Wicasa Oyate (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe), lives in Minneapolis and works on a variety of podcasts and publications through Red Media, an offshoot of The Red Nation, an Indigenous resistance organization he co-founded in 2014. A former assistant professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico, he will join the faculty of the American Indian Studies Department at the University of Minnesota next fall. For 2017-2018, Estes was the American Democracy Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. His first book, Our History Is the Future, places into historical context the Indigenous-led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Learn More About the One Book Program

For more information on the One Book South Dakota program, please visit our One Book SD page. Copies of Our History Is the Future will soon be available for "Book Club to Go" discussions via the SDHC lending library for a $50 ($25 virtual) application.