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“A lesson in how to practice recognizing the fundamental truth that every inch of the Americas is Indigenous territory” —Robert Warrior, from the Foreword
Many people learn about Indigenous politics only through the most controversial and confrontational news: the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s efforts to block the Dakota Access Pipeline, for instance, or the battle to protect Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, a site sacred to Native peoples. But most Indigenous activism remains unseen in the mainstream—and so, of course, does its significance. J. Kehaulani Kauanui set out to change that with her radio program Indigenous Politics. Issue by issue, she interviewed people who talked candidly and in an engaging way about how settler colonialism depends on erasing Native peoples and about how Native peoples can and do resist. Collected here, these conversations speak with clear and compelling voices about a range of Indigenous politics that shape everyday life.
Land desecration, treaty rights, political status, cultural revitalization: these are among the themes taken up by a broad cross-section of interviewees from across the United States and from Canada, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Australia, and New Zealand. Some speak from the thick of political action, some from a historical perspective, others from the reaches of Indigenous culture near and far. Writers, like Comanche Paul Chaat Smith, author of Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong, expand on their work—about gaming and sovereignty, for example, or protecting Native graves, the reclamation of land, or the erasure of Indian identity. These conversations both inform and engage at a moment when their messages could not be more urgent.
Contributors: Jessie Little Doe Baird (Mashpee Wampanoag), Omar Barghouti, Lisa Brooks (Abenaki), Kathleen A. Brown-Pérez (Brothertown Indian Nation), Margaret “Marge” Bruchac (Abenaki), Jessica Cattelino, David Cornsilk (Cherokee Nation), Sarah Deer (Muskogee Creek Nation), Philip J. Deloria (Dakota), Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga Nation), Hone Harawira (Ngapuhi Nui Tonu), Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee), Rashid Khalidi, Winona LaDuke (White Earth Ojibwe), Maria LaHood, James Luna (Luiseño), Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Quandamooka), Chief Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts) Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba (Mohegan), Steven Newcomb (Shawnee/Lenape), Jean M. O’Brien (White Earth Ojibwe), Jonathan Kamakawiwo‘ole Osorio (Kanaka Maoli), Steven Salaita, Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche), Circe Sturm (Mississippi Choctaw descendant), Margo Taméz (Lipan Apache), Chief Richard Velky (Schaghticoke), Patrick Wolfe.
J. Kehaulani Kauanui is professor of American studies and anthropology, director of the Center for the Americas, and chair of the American studies department at Wesleyan University. She is author of Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity and the forthcoming Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism. From 2007 to 2013, she was producer and host of the public affairs radio show Indigenous Politics from WESU in Middletown, Connecticut, where she currently coproduces a program on anarchist politics, Anarchy on Air, with a collective of students.
Robert Warrior (Osage), is Hall Distinguished Professor of American literature and culture at the University of Kansas.
"A highly recommended work offering diverse perspectives on issues of great import to peoples around the world. Regardless of political perspective, readers will find much to mull over here."—Library Journal
"As a polyvocal chronicle, critique, and catalyst at the intersections between global and local Indigenous politics, Kanaka Maoli scholar J. Kehaulani Kauanui’s collection is a reinvigorating contribution that limns the ongoing importance of the topics discussed within. As such I want to make clear that Speaking of Indigenous Politics is vital." —Transmotion