Sonic colonizations, sound coalitions: analyzing the aural landscape of Standing Rock’s No-DAPL movement

Rachel Presley, Jason Crane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This essay examines the soundscape of Standing Rock’s No-DAPL movement by analyzing the aural sites of Sacred Stone and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Camps to comment on the dynamics of coalition building and the embedded politics therein. We delineate the ontological tensions between Native and non-Native peoples in approaches to being and dwelling within our larger environment, contextualizing how such metaphysical dissonances affect the perception and practice of protest. We consider these resultant frictions to be representative of a larger question that underscores the composition, translation, and function of activism–a tension that effectively challenges what resistance should, quite literally, sound like. Turning to a critical review of the ways in which sound has been framed as an affective, rhetorical, and symbolic resource, we encourage scholars and activists to look beyond a politic of representation and instead construct mutually respectful cross-cultural coalitions that attend to diverse sonic variances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-322
Number of pages18
JournalArgumentation and Advocacy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Drs. Devika Chawla and J.W. Smith for their continued support of this project. We are also immensely grateful to Dr. Justin Eckstein and our two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments in improving the quality of this manuscript. Finally, we are indebted to the Standing Rock Sioux, interviewee Jon Petronzio, and all of the No-DAPL water protectors whose resolve and resiliency continue to fill our cup with invaluable insight and inspiration.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Forensic Association.


  • American Indian
  • Sound studies
  • Standing Rock
  • activism
  • environmentalism


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