Publication Date

4-15-2019

Advisor(s)

Khalil Johnson

Major

American Studies (AMST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis surveys the work of Indigenous activists through a transnational lens across the Américas. In regions that span from explicit sites of settler colonialism, to those impacted and specifically targeted by United States imperialism and extractive capitalism, Indigenous groups have organized on varying scales to produce movements that confront histories of violence and oppression to fight for land, sovereignty, and ultimately a decolonized future. Mobilizing through various means, these groups seek to interrogate the extractive gaze and change the hegemonic colonial mindset in order to salvage the world from environmental decay and build a new world, free from violent hierarchical power structures and rich with expansive notions of relationality. The first case looks at the ayllu activists of Bolivia, charting a counter-statist history of the Indigenous majority, their role in the revolutionary period between 2000-2005, and emphasizing the importance of community in creating non-state power. The second case considers the Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, in California’s East Bay. This urban Indigenous women-led land trust shows how, even in settler colonial societies with eliminatory agendas, Indigenous groups are able to mount strategic bids for land reclamation and permanence, as well as opening dialogues about decolonized futurities. The third and final chapter focuses on Albuquerque, New Mexico based organization, The Red Nation, which is working to restore a pan-Indigenous revolutionary movement in the US. Responding to the material conditions of struggle in the Southwest and the environmentally-driven events of Standing Rock, The Red Nation has mobilized queer Indigenous feminist ethics through a democratic centralist structure to fight for the abolition of capitalism and colonialism.

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