The story of the Dakota People in Minnesota since theÂ arrival of Europeans in their homeland is one that has been repeated throughout the Americas. Indigenous Peoples have suffered genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass executions, broken treaties, and land theftâ€”a partial list of the traumatic circumstances that are still affecting Native societies today. In What Does Justice Look Like?, author Waziyatawin relates the history of her People in Minisota, providing historical details about treaty violations, resource theft, and theÂ deliberate destruction of Dakota culture. She shows how Dakota People paid and continue to pay the ultimate price for Minnesotaâ€™s statehood.Â She then goes further, to outline a vision of what it would take for the historical harms to her People to be made right.
This book explores how we can embark on a path of transformation to respectful coexistence with those whose ancestral homeland this is. Doing justice is central to this process. Without justice, many Dakota say, healing and transformation on both sides cannot occur, and good, authentic relations cannot develop between our Peoples.
Waziyatawin is a Wahpetunwan Dakota scholar and activist of the Pezihutazizi Otunwe in southwestern Minnesota. Her book What Does Justice Look Like? offers an opportunity to learn the long-untold history and what it has meant for the Dakota People. On that basis, the book offers the further opportunity to explore what we can do between us as Peoples to reverse patterns of genocide and oppression and instead to do justice with a depth of good faith, commitment, and action that would be genuinely new for Native and non-Native relations.
What Does Justice Look Like? stands as a powerful contribution to the national and international discussion of Indigenous Peoplesâ€™ rights.