• As Long as Grass Grows

  • The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock
  • By: Dina Gilio-Whitaker
  • Narrated by: Kyla Garcia
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The story of Native peoples’ resistance to environmental injustice and land incursions and a call for environmentalists to learn from the indigenous community’s rich history of activism.

Through the unique lens of “Indigenized environmental justice”, indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and protection of sacred sites, while highlighting the important leadership of indigenous women in this centuries-long struggle. As Long as Grass Grows gives listeners an accessible history of indigenous resistance to government and corporate incursions on their lands and offers new approaches to environmental justice activism and policy.

Throughout 2016, the Standing Rock protest put a national spotlight on indigenous activists, but it also underscored how little Americans know about the longtime historical tensions between native peoples and the mainstream environmental movement. Ultimately, she argues, modern environmentalists must look to the history of indigenous resistance for wisdom and inspiration in our common fight for a just and sustainable future.

©2019 Dina Gilio-Whitaker (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Gilio-Whitaker takes the reader on a historical journey that, had it been penned about the Jewish Holocaust or the ‘ethnic cleansing’ conducted at the behest of any number of 20th-century despots, would be well known. Yet when it comes to the United States’ continuing campaign to wipe tribal communities from the map, most Americans are in a state of denial that such a thing could happen.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

“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

“An important and accessible work recommended for students and scholars of political ecology from the undergraduate level up. Gilio-Whitaker’s far-reaching work creates a compelling foundation upon which to add specific examples of the ongoing struggle for environmental justice and Indigenous rights during times of anthropogenic climate change. By connecting Native American history with the environmental justice movement in a clear and comprehensive manner, Gilio-Whitaker clarifies the depth of the wrong-doings of the past, while also opening the door to a wide range of opportunities for positive change in the future.” (Journal of Political Ecology)

What listeners say about As Long as Grass Grows

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Extremely informative and eye opening

This book touches on so many individual cases of indigenous peoples' struggles, historical and current, at the same time as it paints the larger picture of Native Americans and environmental issues, putting the marginalized ideals into a global context which is at the forefront of today's debate questioning neo liberal rhetoric and its complete disregard for community and nature. Highly recommended read!

2 people found this helpful

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Required reading

I think this is a must read for anyone interested in protecting the Earth. I've not read anything as incisive and clear about the need to center Environmental Justice work in Indigenous priorities, cultural history, and politics.

1 person found this helpful

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Powerful Book

I thought this book was excellent. Provides a good (as good as possible in one short book) overall background to contextualize the Indigenous experience with and in relation to nature and environmental injustice. Though the subject matter is obviously and necessarily “heavy” I love that the author ends on a relatively hopeful note and with several suggestions of concrete things the reader can do to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.

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Engaging non-fiction with an important message

Important lessons for non-Native environmentalists on the long history of inequality in the US and environmental justice for tribal communities.

1 person found this helpful

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Should be required reading

Structural genocide, environmental injustice, ecocide, Christian dominance over indigenous peoples... I felt like a sponge listening to this book. So much of what we spoon feed our kids about the history of our country is wrong. Everyone should read (or listen) to this well-researched masterpiece.

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A must read for all Americans

This book provides so much information about our history and uncovers truths that have been buried. It offers perspective that will help to lead us in a way of living in harmony. I highly recommend this book!

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Great book, reading not so great

Very good book but the narrator could have done a better job determining correct pronunciations.

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Important, powerful, but a bit tendentious

First of all, I probably agree with virtually everything the author presents in this book, regarding native genocide, environmental racism, institutional sexism, the evil of settler colonialism, the inadequate support of liberalism to affect change for indigenous empowerment, and on and on. The book provides many examples of these problems and many more. I highly recommend the book as a primer for those people unfamiliar, or unwilling to accept, the issues facing indigenous peoples. But there's the rub, while it does delve deeply into some particular issues like the establishment of a workable environmental justice program, and what it might look like, it touches only tangentially on supporting issues. There are many citations of other, better books, like "The Other Slavery" by Andrés Reséndez, "Killers of the Flower Moon", by David Grann, and (a much lesser book, imho) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, making me think at one point this was merely a book of compilations.

In addition, the last half of the book descends into a polemic screed, using a reductive "with god on our side" argument, though I'm not entirely sure she's aware of her own narrowness. While like-minded people can all agree that environmental protection and respect is pragmatic and culturally important, the inextricable linkage to native spirituality, much less to the sacred, is rather counterproductive. Not the least reason being that the author herself acknowledges, in dealing with those pesky "hippies", there is no spiritual wisdom to be imparted by indigenous people, it's just a magical myth created by the dominant western culture. But, when it suits her cause, she's more than willing to jump on the magical, mystical native bandwagon.

I was tempted to give this 3 stars, as that denotes "pretty good", by Audible standards. But to be honest, my issues with the author's integrity notwithstanding, I do agree with the theme of the book, and the need for real progress for not only indigenous survival, but for everyone. I respect the effort made in the book, even if I find some parts dubious.