What makes the red woman red: Cultural surveillance and the reassertion of indigenous sovereignty and identity through indigenous futurisms and decolonial practices

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2022-08

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Abstract

Wendy Red Star and Rebecca Roanhorse utilize art and literature to challenge negative stereotypes, but their work emphasizes Indigenous futurisms. I chose these two artists because Red Star responds to the historical legacies of Edward S. Curtis and his colleagues, and Roanhorse pays homage to John Ford’s The Searchers (1956) while elevating Indigenous traditions and reimagining futures that centers Indigeneity. More and more Indigenous writers, artists, and creators are incorporating Indigenous Futurisms into their work. These two artists, Roanhorse and Red Star, aligned with my interest in challenging negative stereotypes. I argue that decolonization and Indigenous futurisms disrupt settler colonial narratives and cultural surveillance. The goal of cultural surveillance is assimilation and by elevating Indigenous traditional knowledge and language, Indigenous people assert their sovereignty and demonstrate they cannot be assimilated into whiteness.

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Keywords

Indigenous Sovereignty, Art, Decolonization, Indigenous Literature, Stereotypes

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