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Special Issue: Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Water

February 3, 2016
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Download a shareable PDF of this Call for Submissions here:

The Politics of Water- Special Issue – Decolonization


Title: Indigenous Peoples and The Politics of Water

Editors: Melanie K. Yazzie (University of New Mexico) and Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy (San Diego State University)

Abstracts Due: April 4, 2016

Submissions Due: August 31, 2016

 

                                               

Call for Submissions

 

Overview

[Feb 3, 2016] Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society invites articles from scholars, artists, activists, policy makers, and community members for a special issue of the journal exploring Indigenous peoples and the politics of water. Water is an ancient and sacred element of Indigenous epistemologies and ways of life. Water sustains, builds and inspires. In the contemporary context climate change, water security, and environmental destruction have captivated popular attention. A proliferation of scholarly and public works, as well as (inter)governmental working groups and summits, have emerged to address these interrelated issues. We acknowledge the importance of these approaches to understanding and analyzing water. However, this issue is more concerned with the social and political properties of water than with identifying and articulating Indigenous “cultural” or “traditional” conceptions of water, or mainstream approaches that address water through frameworks of supply and demand, science, security, crisis, and scarcity.

Instead, we seek contributions that foreground critical historical, theoretical, and empirical approaches to understanding the politics of water. We contend that struggles over water figure centrally in salient concerns about self-determination, sovereignty, nationhood, autonomy, resistance, survival, and futurity that drive Indigenous political and intellectual work. In recent history, we have seen water assume a distinct and prominent role in Indigenous political formations. Recent examples range from the August 2015 Gold King Mine Spill, which dumped over three million gallons of toxic waste into the San Juan River and devastated Navajo farming communities in the northern part of the Navajo Nation to the continuing water struggles in California, and the water security issues that face First Nations peoples dealing with resource extraction in Canada. Indigenous peoples around the world are forced to formulate innovative and powerful responses to the contamination, exploitation, and theft of water, even as they are silenced or dismissed by genocidal schemes reproduced through legal, corporate, state, and academic means.

We also recognize that the politics of water is deeply intertwined with contemporary water security and policy issues that affect both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples around the world. The responses and efforts to control water in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities have been consistently designed to serve the imperatives of settler colonialism. Indigenous analyses of these global issues in water politics are key–whether at grassroots, institutional, or governmental levels– to challenging, refusing, and revising the violence of such imperatives and building a better future.

Read more…

Can the Other of Native Studies Speak?

February 1, 2016

by Billy-Ray Belcourt

 

Revolution will come in a form we cannot yet imagine

– Jack Halbertstam [1]

Like Judith Butler, I want to begin with a beginning. [2] At a session during the 2015 gathering of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association in Toronto, Dana Wesley asked panellists, panellists who were bent on teasing apart the matterings – indeed the matter of – the future for Indigenous peoples, if queer, trans, and two-spirit life would dwell inside that imagining. The question was answered with silence, posited in and as the negative space against which that world would, like this one, be demarcated. Perhaps the question was incoherent; the asker, and the life-forms she pointed to, could not be recognized as selves who could indeed question. Perhaps we wouldn’t, she answered. It was as if the question hadn’t been asked at all.

That negative space, something of a surrounding, to use Heidegger’s language, binds together queer Indigenous peoples not properly peopled in a purely metaphysical realm. The surrounding is where life is lived by those for whom the world isn’t theirs, and, in this, are blocked from dwelling “in the overtness of being.” [3] These are queernesses that exist outside the traditional and the identitarian borders of indigeneity, ones that the past cannot make sense of because they emerge in the most unexpected places. It is in the unthinkability between queer and Indigenous that some of us stage our lives. We are both nothing and everything at the same time.

This is for those for whom the past has never safely held up their world.

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“In search of our better selves:” Mad Max: Fury Road as Totem Transfer Narrative

January 21, 2016

by Dallas Hunt

 

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With the recent announcement that Mad Max: Fury Road has been nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, the film has gained renewed interest. While the movie has been critically dissected ad naseum, being hailed simultaneously as both a “feminist masterpiece” and a film (mostly) devoid of Indigenous peoples and people of colour, I want to take a different, though related, approach to the film’s politics, focusing specifically on the way it may reproduce colonial tropes of Indigenous disappearance.

The movie’s director, George Miller, who has a real possibility of taking home the Best Director prize in February, has called the film “a western on wheels.” Miller is not alone in designating the film in this way, as several high-profile critics have done the same. Indeed, with the “circle the wagons” and wagon trail imagery of the film, it is by no means a stretch of the imagination to view it through this lens.

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The #FlintWaterCrisis is Not just a Black Issue it is also an Indigenous Issue

January 20, 2016

by Kyle T. Mays, PhD

 

Introduction, Or Why I’m Mad

I write this piece with anger, outrage, and a love for humanity. I am angry because Governor Rick Snyder should be prosecuted as a criminal to the fullest extent that the law allows. I mean that. I am outraged because the people of Flint don’t have access to a basic human right: clean water. In spite of it all, I am also more in love with humanity because people on the ground are helping out where their state has failed them. I want to repeat: Governor Rick Snyder should face criminal prosecution. Flint is a majority Black city and the lack of clean water is a blatant form of environmental racism. Period.

However, two perspectives that I have seen in my social media disturb me. First, Native folks passively dismissing the #FlintWaterCrisis by saying things that amount to: “Well, Native people have dealt with the lack of water rights and the poisoning of our land for decades, so this is not new.” For instance, the Navajo Nation in the Southwest of Turtle Island has its own water crisis, with 40% lacking access to clean, running water. The lack of clean water goes back to World War II, when the U.S. engaged in practice bombings near Navajo Land. This past summer, the Gold King Mine released some 3 million gallons of contaminated water into a river that led to three states, including New Mexico, in which a part of the Navajo Nation resides.Therefore, I can understand why some Native people would argue that the issues facing Black residents in Flint are not new, and that everyone should pay closer attention to Native water issues on Native land. I am equally disturbed by how Black folks continue participating in the discourses of settler colonialism by rarely, if ever, acknowledging that Flint (and other places) is still Indigenous land, essentially stating, “this issue is anti-black because white folks like Governor Snyder is racist.” Both points are true, but the framing is unnecessarily limiting. Given my positionality as a Black/Anishinaabe person, I have a duty of sorts, to speak on the issue.

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Now Roz (Persian New Year)

January 7, 2016
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by Geraldine King

 

I was once told to allow the tears to water my soul; that with torrential showers comes bountiful flowers. For many reasons, the horizon of my heart was vaster than could be seen with the naked eye. Although the soil was fertile, and conditions to grow just right, a seven-year drought impeded its ability to blossom with hope. My tears had dried with the passing of an old life. The ducts were cracked around the edges but managed to stay lubricated with the sweat from painstaking labour out in the hot sun with nothing but a trowel and mad determination. I was once told to allow the tears to water my soul. Fuck that. It is now clear to me that the beams of light from your smile are responsible for bringing the rarest of flowers to my garden. Every time you smile, my heart smiles. Beauty blossoms.

Springtime in my heart.

 


Geraldine King is Anishinaabekwe from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (Gull Bay First Nation). Geraldine is a Master’s student in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria where her primary research interests are centred on Indigenous erotica as viable resurgent governance praxis. Geraldine is the Managing Editor of Intercontinental Cry Magazine, a publication of the Centre for World Indigenous Studies.

Nanabozho Sings Round Dance

January 5, 2016

by Geraldine King

 

*Nanabozho steps up to mic and starts drumming softly*

*clears throat*

*winks at head lady dancer*

*Her toothless kokum winks back*

*drumming intensifies*

Wey heyAAAA wa hey yaa yoo

Wey heyAAAA wa hey yaa yoo

Hey ya yoo-oo we heya

Hey ya yoo-oo we heya – ooo

Oh my darling Sky Wo-ma-an

Y U NO answer my textz, weyo

I know you’re on your pho-oone

Coz I saw you ‘like’ 23 pics on Insta-graa-am

 

Hey ya yoo-oo we heya – ooo

Wey heyAAAA wa hey yaa yoo

Wey heyAAAA wa hey yaa yoo

Hey ya yoo-oo we heya

Hey ya yoo-oo we heya – ooo

 

Oh my sweet shkabesaabe kwe-eeh!

I searched for you in the bush

I looked for you at bingo, weyo

But all along you were on Facebook

Hey ya yoo-oo we heya – ooo

 

Wey heyAAAA wa hey yaa yoo

Wey heyAAAA wa hey yaa yoo

Hey ya yoo-oo we heya

Hey ya yoo-oo we heya – ooo

 

Oh hello my lovely Indian wii-iife, weyo

I was just kidding about those other gii-iirls

You are my one and only, my fried baloney

…HOWAH! PUT DOWN THAT FRYING PAN!

Oweee oooh ahhhhh hey oh oh no no-ooo!

 


Geraldine King is Anishinaabekwe from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (Gull Bay First Nation). Geraldine is a Master’s student in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria where her primary research interests are centred on Indigenous erotica as viable resurgent governance praxis. Geraldine is the Managing Editor of Intercontinental Cry Magazine, a publication of the Centre for World Indigenous Studies.

Remembering to Forget

January 4, 2016

by Geraldine King

 

Sip on my nectar

Is it sweet?

We forgot how to be lovers

When the wells ran dry

When oceans became deserts

When the stars sucked the life

Out of you

Out of me

All we were left with was the moon

Shining brighter than our souls

But dimming our spirits

When you remembered me

You forgot yourself

You allowed ego to overcome

To come over

To cum all over

To culminate in midnight

I hear the crickets snapping their backs

Against your willful thrusts

Their crusty carapaces crackling in the night

Going back to their ancestors

While we honour ours

On this bed of self-regret

 


 

Geraldine King is Anishinaabekwe from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (Gull Bay First Nation). Geraldine is a Master’s student in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria where her primary research interests are centred on Indigenous erotica as viable resurgent governance praxis. Geraldine is the Managing Editor of Intercontinental Cry Magazine, a publication of the Centre for World Indigenous Studies.

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