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Speaking of Indigenous Politics

Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and Tribal Leaders

2018

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Editor
Foreword by Robert Warrior

Speaking of Indigenous Politics

“A lesson in how to practice recognizing the fundamental truth that every inch of the Americas is Indigenous territory” —Robert Warrior, from the Foreword

On her radio program Indigenous Politics, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui 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, bringing Indigenous activism to the mainstream. Collected here, these conversations speak with clear and compelling voices about a range of Indigenous politics that shape everyday life.

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. Kēhaulani 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.

Speaking of Indigenous Politics

J. Kēhaulani 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.

Speaking of Indigenous Politics

Contents
Foreword
Introduction: Indigenous Politics from Native New England and Beyond
Chief Richard Velky—Part I
Chief Richard Velky—Part II
David Cornsilk
Sarah Deer—Part I
Sarah Deer—Part II
Tonya Gonnella Frichner
Margaret (Marge) Bruchac
James Luna
Steven Newcomb
Aileen Moreton Robinson
Winona LaDuke
Margo Taméz—Part I
Margo Taméz—Part II
Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwo‘ole Osorio
Philip J. Deloria
Jessie Little Doe Baird
Omar Barghouti
Steven Salaita
Paul Chaat Smith
Lisa Brooks
Jessica Cattelino
Kathleen Brown-Perez
Robert Warrior
Patrick Wolfe
Hone Harawira
Jean M. O’Brien
Suzan Shown Harjo
Chief Many Hearts, Lynn Malerba
Maria Lahood and Rashid Khalidi
Circe Sturm
Acknowledgments