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Environmental Studies | Native American Studies | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Organization Development | Place and Environment


From 2011 to 2014 fossil fuel corporations trucked tar sands processing machinery along rural Idaho highways. The machinery was bound for the world's largest deposits of tar or oil sands, a heavy crude oil substance called bitumen, located in the western Canadian province of Alberta. These loads of machinery, what became known as megaloads, encountered much resistance. Throughout Idaho and the surrounding region, a network organized opposition. Neighbors, grassroots organizations, nonprofits, and the Nez Perce and other tribes all collaborated. They held information sessions, protested, waged legal battles, monitored the loads, and blockaded highways. What oil companies hoped would be a cost-effective solution for transporting their megaloads became a David versus Goliath, Coyote versus the Monster—to reference the Nez Perce creation story—struggle to protect rural and indigenous ways of life and sovereignty, and the planet.