Speaking of Indigenous Politics: Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and Tribal Leaders
Editor: J. Kēhaulani Kauanui
Softcover, 424 pp.
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.