Definitional work has authorized vaguely articulated, unending, US-led terror wars, constituting amorphous, violent, global terrain, spatially, temporally, and discursively. Mapping the terrain in which this violence is enacted helps us examine re-emergences of violence, including entangling Indigenous communities inside the United States—particularly as they engage acts of protest—within the same colonial machines of terror deployed in the name of war outside those boundaries. This essay maps these circulations as they coalesce at one point: the use of battle grade military equipment and former special operations teams against Indigenous protesters at the Standing Rock #NoDAPL resistance fight in 2016 and 2017. As Native protestors were transformed into jihadists and assaulted at Standing Rock, frames of savage indigeneity permeated boundaries from the terror wars’ battle sites of Pakistan and Afghanistan back to the United States. In this cartography, conditions of possibility for governing global communities are remapped. The inter/national crossroads expand and are weaponized into new necropolitical tools of colonization. Examining this violent landscape and engaging with histories of settler colonialism as well as the spatial, temporal, and discursive power of definition, this essay explores rhetorical cartography as the ground for mapping new rhetorical terrains and inter/national coalition against ongoing materializations of colonialism.

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