Alison Martin

I recommend Standing with Standing Rock: A Role Play on the Dakota Access Pipeline, whether it be for teaching current issues Native communities face and/or building empathy and the importance of considering multiple perspectives.

While I don’t love many role playing lessons I’ve witnessed, I found this one to be effective and created with thoughtfulness. As a Native educator, I found that not only did this lesson seem valuable for a group of students, but I actually took away a lot for myself. As someone who views pipelines as very real threats to my communities and wholeheartedly supports pipeline opposition efforts, it was powerful for me to try on the perspective of a pipeline worker for this activity. I still strongly oppose pipelines, but this lesson forced me to humanize another side of this complex issue, to see the workers as people with not vastly different needs than mine and my family’s.

I will say that if you have Native students in your class, please be mindful of how this experience could be triggering for them, particularly with one of the media sources used in the beginning of the lesson of DAPL workers setting dogs on the water protectors. I found this to be emotional and hard to watch in the presence of others.