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DINA GILIO-WHITAKER discusses her new nonfiction book AS LONG AS GRASS GROWS

As Long As The Grass Grows (Beacon Press)

In As Long As Grass Grows, author and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker argues that colonization was not just an invasion of and domination over Indigenous populations by European settlers, but that a central harm of colonization was the environmental injustices it imposed.Gilio-Whitaker traces this systemic dispossession of sacred land from Indigenous peoples from early colonization through today, arguing that it represents the greatest form of environmental injustice for Indigenous populations in the United States. 

Gilio-Whitaker traces how the new Red Power movement of the '70s and '80s, and other women-led movements for Indigenous environmental justice spurred cooperation between environmentalists, tribes, and the government. In 1991, the People of Color Environmental Justice Theory Leadership
Summit produced the Principles of Environmental Justice with seventeen points that represented a greater level of inclusion for Indigenous concerns than the preceding studies had, framing environmental justice in terms of colonial histories and oppressive political domination. 

As Long As Grass Grows looks for a way forward for environmental justice in Indian country by identifying positive trends and innovative ways communities are rallying together to build a better future in the face of relentless corporate power. “To be born American Indian today is to have survived a holocaust of a very particular kind, one whose evidence is everywhere, all the time,” Gilio-Whitaker writes. She maintains that settler colonialism and the industrial revolution set into motion a series of environmental effects that have been detrimental to the health of Native peoples for centuries and that are exacerbated today by climate change. “Native people,” she writes, “have survived because of their ability to creatively resist,  adapt, and meet the challenges modernity has thrown at them.”

Praise for As Long As Grass Grows:

“A masterpiece ... Powerful, urgent, and necessary reading.”—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

“The process of genocide, which began five centuries ago with the colonization of the Americas and the extermination of indigenous people, has now spread to the planetary level, pushing two hundred species per day to extinction and threatening the entire human species. Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s As Long as Grass Grows makes these connections, holding the seeds of resistance, the seeds of freedom, and the promise of a future.”—Vandana Shiva, author of Earth Democracy

“Dina Gilio-Whitaker writes in succinct, powerful, and deeply historical ways about Natives and environmental justice or—almost always—lack thereof.”—Andrés Reséndez, author of The Other Slavery

As Long as Grass Grows honors Indigenous voices powerfully and centers Indigenous histories, values, and experiences. It tells crucial stories, both inspiring and heartrending, that will transform how readers understand environmental justice. I know many readers will come away with new ideas and actions for how they can protect our planet from forces that seek to destroy some of our most sacred relationships connecting human and nonhuman worlds—relationships that offer some of the greatest possibilities for achieving sustainability.”—Kyle Powys White, associate professor, Michigan State University

“From Standing Rock’s stand against a damaging pipeline to antinuclear and climate change activism, Indigenous peoples have always been and remain in the vanguard of the struggle for environmental justice. As Long as Grass Grows could not be of more relevance in the twenty-first century. Gilio-Whitaker has produced a sweeping history of these peoples’ fight for our fragile planet, from colonization to the present moment. There is nothing else like it. Read and heed this book.”—Jace Weaver, author of Defending Mother Earth

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and a consultant and educator in environmental justice policy planning. Her research interests focus on Indigenous nationalism, self-determination, environmental justice, and education. She also works within the field of critical sports studies, examining the intersections of indigeneity and the sport of surfing. She is co-author with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz of All the Real Indians Died Off, And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans.

Author Photo by Banana Bugz

Event date: 
Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 5:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780807073780
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - April 2nd, 2019