Issue Thirteen : Spring 2019

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Guest Editor’s Introduction to Issue Thirteen: Water & Environmental Justice

The work collected here was written about and on the sovereign land of many First Nations. The place it was assembled—the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities—is a land-grant institution that operates on Mni Sota Makoce (called Minnesota), Dakota land, and alongside and over the Mississippi River whose watershed is the major artery of Turtle Island (called North America).

Introduction to Issue Thirteen

Simi Kang agreed to guest edit this issue of Open Rivers, moving our work toward questions of environmental equity and justice, and by extension coming to understand their opposites: environmental inequities, injustices, and racism.

The Political Binds of Oil versus Tribes

In late 2018, while researching the connections between environmental justice and Indigenous womxn’s activism[1], I was invited to story about how water might respond to environmental injustice and racism. In preparation, I thought about how the lands and peoples to which I belong struggle against “slow violence” brought on by the toxic effects of uranium contamination and nuclear pollution…

Storying Pinhook: Representing the Community, the Floods, and the Struggle

When They Blew the Levee is a fierce love letter to the power of community, one encoded to Black sociality, the broader American social imaginary, and the mythical power of the Mississippi River. In praxis, it is a political tool—a lyrical baseball bat—for the residents of Pinhook, Missouri to wield in a rally against the sustained structural violence of a biased justice system and racialized world.

What Helps You Dream?

To create this list of “contraband” practices (forwarded by David Naguib Pellow in our feature of the same name), our contributors responded to the following question: If you were to gift someone one thing (reading/practice/site of engagement) to guide them to environmental justice or a different relationship with water, what would it be?

“The Soul to See”: Toward a Hoodoo Ethnography

In his book, How Racism Takes Place, George Lipsitz (2011: 5) contends that “race is produced by space,” and that “it takes places for racism to take place.” While Lipsitz focuses primarily on the intersection of race and space in urban settings, racialized spatial practices in rural environments can be just as devastating to communities of color, if not more so.