Citations of drafts are permitted using the available forthcoming publication information
Indigenous Science (Fiction) for the Anthropocene: Ancestral Dystopias and Fantasies of Climate Change Crises
2018. In Environment & Planning E: Nature and Space 1 (1-2): 224-242.
Portrayals of the anthropocene period are often dystopian or post-apocalyptic narratives of climate crises that will leave humans in horrific science-fiction scenarios. Such narratives miss the populations of people, such as Indigenous peoples, who approach climate change having already been through transformations of their societies induced by colonial violence. This essay discusses how some Indigenous perspectives on climate change can situate the present time as already dystopian. Instead of dread of an impending crisis, Indigenous approaches to climate change are motivated through dialogic narratives with their descendants and ancestors. In some cases, these narratives are like science fiction in which Indigenous peoples work to empower their own protagonists to address contemporary challenges. This view has important implications for climate and environmental justice allyship with Indigenous peoples.
Critical Investigations of Resilience: A Brief Introduction to Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences
2018. In Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 147 (2): 136-147.
Indigenous peoples are among the most active environmentalists in the world, working through advocacy, educational programs, and research. The emerging field of Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences (IESS) is distinctive, investigating social resilience to environmental change through the research lens of how moral relationships are organized in societies. Examples of IESS research across three moral relationships are discussed here: responsibility, spirituality, and justice. IESS develops insights on resilience that can support Indigenous peoples’ struggles with environmental justice and political reconciliation; makes significant contributions to global discussions about the relationship between human behavior and the environment; and speaks directly to Indigenous liberation as well as justice issues impacting everyone.
2018. In Climate Futures: Reimagining Global Climate Justice. Edited by D. Munshi, K. Bhavnani, J. Foran and P. Kurian. University of California Press. Forthcoming.
In my experiences, most Indigenous peoples have complicated stories to tell about anthropogenic climate change that often start with their being harmed by fossil fuel industries. Climate injustice against Indigenous peoples is insidious, as it involves years of coupled colonial and capitalist domination. Is there a succinct way to convey an Indigenous perspective on climate justice that makes the connections between capitalism and industrialization and colonialism? This short essay uses a story of vessels, in allegorical form, to describe the complexity of Indigenous climate justice. The allegory seeks to convey how decolonization and anti-colonialism, understood in senses appropriate to the allegory, cannot be disaggregated from climate justice for Indigenous peoples.
Food Sovereignty, Justice and Indigenous Peoples: An Essay on Settler Colonialism and Collective Continuance
2018. In Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics. Edited by A. Barnhill, T. Doggett, and A. Egan, 345-366. Oxford University Press.
Indigenous peoples often claim that colonial powers, such as settler states, violate Indigenous peoples’ collective self-determination over their food systems, or food sovereignty. Violations of food sovereignty are often food injustices. Yet Indigenous peoples claim that one of the solutions to protecting food sovereignty involves the conservation of particular foods, from salmon to wild rice. This essay advances an argument that claims of this kind set forth particular theories of food sovereignty and food injustice that are not actually grounded in a static conception of Indigenous culture; instead, such claims offer important contributions to how settler colonial domination is understood as a form of injustice affecting key relationships that support Indigenous collective self-determination through food sovereignty. The essay describes some of the significant qualities of reciprocal relationships that support food sovereignty, referring widely to the work of Indigenous leaders and scholars and Tribal staff on salmon conservation in North America.
2018. Written with Chris Caldwell and Marie Schaefer. In Sustainability: Approaches to Environmental Justice and Social Power. Edited by J. Sze, 149-179. NYU Press.
Indigenous peoples are widely recognized as holding lessons about how the rest of humanity can live sustainably. Yet it is rarely acknowledged that for Indigenous peoples living in the context of settler states, our efforts to sustain our peoples rest on our capacities to resist settler colonial oppression. Indigenous planning refers to a set of concepts and practices through which many Indigenous peoples reflect critically on sustainability to derive lessons about what actions reinforce Indigenous self-determination and resist settler colonial oppression. The work of the Sustainable Development Institute of the College of Menominee Nation (SDI) is one case of Indigenous planning. In the context of SDI, we discuss Indigenous planning as a process of interpreting lessons from our own pasts and making practical plans for staging our own futures in the face of oppression.
2018. Written with Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner. In Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race. Edited by P. Taylor, L. Alcoff, and L. Anderson, 152-167. Routledge.
We seek in this essay to distill rather briefly for philosophers of race a few of the concepts and arguments advanced within literatures in Indigenous feminisms and Indigenous gender studies. We will try to give voice to the structures of settler colonial erasure by bringing together a range of cases from academic literatures of how oppressive impositions of Indigenous identities are interwoven with patriarchy. U.S. settler patriarchy, as part of the structure of erasure, issues specific tactics that accomplish erasure by delegitimizing Indigenous political representation and diplomacy, breeding distrust and creating oppressive dilemmas within Indigenous communities, and justifying and obscuring violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit persons. The resurgence of Indigenous identities as part of decolonization movements must simultaneously be tied to the decolonization of Indigenous relationships to gender and land.
2017. In English Language Notes 55 (1-2): 153-162.
Indigenous and allied scholars, knowledge keepers, scientists, learners, change-makers, and leaders are creating a field to support Indigenous peoples’ capacities to address anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. Indigenous studies often reflect the memories and knowledges that arise from Indigenous peoples’ living heritages as societies with stories, lessons, and long histories of having to be well-organized to adapt to seasonal and inter-annual environmental changes. At the same time, our societies have been heavily disrupted by colonialism, capitalism, and industrialization. I perceive at least three key themes reflected across the field that suggest distinct approaches to inquiries into climate change. Through discussing these themes, I will claim that Indigenous studies offer critical, decolonizing approaches to how to address climate change. The approaches arise from how our ways of imagining the future guide our present actions.
2017. In Red Ink: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities 19 (1): 154-169.
Starting in April 2016, thousands of people, led by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal members, gathered at camps to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)—creating the #NoDAPL movement. I am concerned with how critics of #NoDAPL often focus on defending the pipeline’s safety precautions or the many attempts the Army Corps of Engineers made at consulting the Tribe. Yet critics rarely engage what LaDonna Brave Bull Allard calls “the larger story.” To me, as an Indigenous supporter of #NoDAPL, one thread of the larger story concerns how DAPL is an injustice against the Tribe. The type of injustice is one that many other Indigenous peoples can identify with—U.S. settler colonialism. I seek to show how there are many layers to the settler colonial injustice behind DAPL that will take me, by the end of this essay, from U.S. disrespect of treaty promises in the 19th century to environmental sustainability and climate change in the 21st century.
2017. In Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities. Edited by U. Heise, J. Christensen, and M. Niemann, pgs. 206-2015. Routledge.
Anthropocene discourse often describes futures using dystopian themes. I wondered how might some Indigenous peoples interpret such futures. While similarities are present given Indigenous concern with conserving native species, it is more accurate to claim that indigenous conservationists focus more on sustaining particular plants and animals whose lives are entangled locally, over many generations, in ecological, cultural and economic relationships with human societies. What is more, the environmental impacts of settler colonialism have made it so that quite a few indigenous peoples in North America are already no longer able to relate locally to many of the plants and animals that are significant to them. In the Anthropocene, then, some indigenous peoples already inhabit what our ancestors would have likely characterized as a dystopian future. So we consider the future from what we believe is already a dystopia, which frames how we approach conservation decisions today.
2017. In Humanities for the Environment: Integrating Knowledges, Forging New Constellations of Practice. Edited by J. Adamson, M. Davis, and H. Huang, pgs. 88-104. Earthscan Publications.
Indigenous peoples are among the most audible voices in the global climate justice movement. Yet, as I will show in this chapter, climate injustice is a recent episode of a cyclical history of colonialism inflicting anthropogenic (human-caused) environmental change on Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples face climate risks largely because of how colonialism, in conjunction with capitalist economics, shapes the geographic spaces they live in and their socio-economic conditions. In the North American settler colonial context, which I focus on in this chapter, U.S. settler colonial laws, policies and programs are ‘both’ a significant factor in opening up Indigenous territories for carbon-intensive economic activities and, at the same time, a significant factor in why Indigenous peoples face heightened climate risks. Climate injustice, for Indigenous peoples, is less about the spectre of a new future and more like the experience of déjà vu.
2016. Author Team: K. Norton-Smith, K. Lynn, K. Chief, K. Cozzetto, J. Donatuto, M. Hiza Redsteer, L. Kruger, J. Maldonado, C. Viles, and K.P. Whyte. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-944. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Pgs 1-138.
A growing body of literature examines the vulnerability, risk, resilience, and adaptation of indigenous peoples to climate change. This synthesis of literature brings together research pertaining to the impacts of climate change on sovereignty, culture, health, and economies that are currently being experienced by Alaska Native and American Indian tribes and other indigenous communities in the United States. This report defines and describes the key frameworks that inform indigenous understandings of climate change impacts and pathways for adaptation and mitigation, namely, tribal sovereignty and self-determination, culture and cultural identity, and indigenous community health indicators. It also provides a comprehensive synthesis of climate knowledge, science, and strategies that indigenous communities are exploring.
2016. Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Renewal and U.S. Settler Colonialism. In The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics. Edited by M. Rawlinson & C. Ward, 354-365. Routledge.
Indigenous peoples often embrace different versions of the concept of food sovereignty. Yet some of these concepts are seemingly based on impossible ideals of food self-sufficiency. I will suggest in this essay that for at least some North American Indigenous peoples, food sovereignty movements are not based on such ideals, even though they invoke concepts of cultural revitalization and political sovereignty. Instead, food sovereignty is a strategy of Indigenous resurgence that negotiates structures of settler colonialism that erase the ecological value of certain foods for Indigenous peoples.
2016. In Keepers of the Green World: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Sustainability. Edited by M.K. Nelson and D. Shilling. Cambridge University Press.
This essay is written to address conversations about the best ways to engage in knowledge exchange on important sustainability issues between Indigenous knowledges and fields of climate, environmental and sustainability sciences. Indigenous knowledges often play a crucial role in Indigenous planning processes. I have found that scientists often appreciate the value of Indigenous knowledges as inputs for adding data that scientific methods do not normally track. But it is also the case that Indigenous knowledges have governance-value. That is, they serve as irreplaceable sources of guidance for Indigenous resurgence and nation-building. Scientists should appreciate governance-value because it suggests that for some Indigenous peoples in knowledge exchange situations, we need to be assured that the flourishing of our knowledges is respected and protected. Scientists must understand governance value to improve their approaches to knowledge exchange with Indigenous peoples.
2016. Nature and Experience: Phenomenology and the Environment. Edited by B. Bannon, 157-174. Rowman & Littlefield.
Indigenous peoples’ EJ movements focus on dimensions of injustice beyond the responsibility of social institutions for the distribution of nuisances, harms and goods. For many Indigenous peoples, I will argue, injustice also occurs when the social institutions of one society systematically erase certain social-ecological contexts, or horizons, that are vital for members of another society to experience themselves in the world as having responsibilities to other humans, nonhumans and the environment. Injustice, here, involves one society robbing another society of its capacities to experience the world as a place of collective life that its members feel responsible for maintaining into the future. I seek to show how this understanding of environmental injustice is highlighted in theories and research from the domain of Indigenous peoples and settler colonialism.
2016. Written with Chris Cuomo. The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics. Edited by S.M. Gardiner and A. Thompson, 234-247. Oxford University Press.
Indigenous ethics and feminist care ethics offer a range of related ideas and tools for environmental ethics. Indigenous ethics highlight attentive caring for the intertwined needs of humans and nonhumans within interdependent communities. Feminist environmental care ethics emphasize the importance of empowering communities to care for themselves and the social and ecological communities in which their lives and interests are interwoven. The gendered, feminist, historical, and anticolonial dimensions of care ethics, indigenous ethics, and other related approaches provide rich ground for rethinking and reclaiming the nature and depth of diverse relationships as the fabric of social and ecological being.
2016. In Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race. Edited by N. Zack, 91-101. Oxford University Press.
Written for the field of philosophy, this article introduces concepts of and conflicts over Indigeneity to the field of philosophy of race. In the U.S. context, Indigenous identity, or Indigeneity, presents many difficulties, ranging from problematic understandings of blood degree to peculiar census definitions to accusations of identity fraud. I will discuss in this essay a brief outline of my view that these difficulties are oppressive dilemmas and disappearances that are built into those structures of US settler colonialism that seek to erase us in our own homelands. Looking forward, I will appeal to Kim TallBear’s work, which I will interpret in relation to my own work on environmental justice, to suggest at least one possible alternative for addressing issues associated with Indigeneity and settler erasure.
2016. Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory. Edited by T. Gabrielson, C. Hall, J. Meyer & D. Schlosberg, 563-580. Oxford University Press.
Indigenous environmental movements have been important actors in twentieth- and twenty-first-century global environmental politics and environmental justice. Their foci range from the protection of indigenous environmental stewardship systems to upholding and expanding treaty responsibilities to securing indigenous rights in law and policy. This chapter suggests that these movements open important intellectual spaces for thinking about the function of environmental governance institutions in addressing complex environmental issues such as clean water and forest conservation. Indigenous environmentalists suggest that institutions should function to convene reciprocal responsibilities across relatives as diverse as humans, non-human beings such as plants, entities such as water, and collectives such as forests.
2016. Written with J.P. Brewer and J.T. Johnson. Sustainability Science 11 (1): 25-32.
Indigenous sustainability scientists often describe protocols as referring to attitudes about how to approach the world that are inseparable from how people approach scientific inquiry; they use the terms caretaking and stewardship to characterize protocols in their Indigenous communities and nations. Yet sustainability scientists may be rather mystified by the idea of protocols as a necessary dimension of scientific inquiry. Moreover, the terms stewardship and caretaking are seldom used in sustainability science. We elaborate on some possible meanings of protocols for sustainability scientists.
The Story of Rising Voices: Facilitating Collaboration Between Indigenous and Western Ways of Knowing
2016. Written with J. Maldonado, H. Lazrus, S. Bennett, K. Chief, C.M. Dhillon, B. Gough, L. Kruger, J. Morisette, S. Petrovic. In Responses to Disasters and Climate Change: Understanding Vulnerability and Fostering Resilience. Edited by M. Companion and M. Chaiken, Chapter 2. CRC Press.
Indigenous knowledges and adaptation strategies provide a crucial foundation for community-based adaptation measures to climate change-related transformations. Because of the unprecedented rates of environmental shifts precipitated by contemporary climate change, and circumscribed adaptive capacity of Indigenous communities, partnerships between experts with backgrounds in Indigenous and western knowledge may be particularly important. This chapter examines collaborations among scientific and Native American, Alaska Native, and Pacific Island communities to support climate solutions. Specifically, we draw examples from the Rising Voices: Collaborative Science for Climate Solutions program (Rising Voices) to examine how boundary organizations function cross-culturally.
2016. Food, Ethics and Society: An Introductory Text with Readings. Edited by A. Barnhill, M. Budolfson and T. Doggett, 122-134. Oxford University Press.
A dimension of food justice found in the words and writing of advocates is that food justice should account for the value of food in relation to the self-determination of human groups such as urban communities of color, Indigenous peoples and migrant farmworkers, among many other groups. My goal in this essay is to outline a norm of food justice that is based on the value of food in relation to the self-determination of human groups. In the essay, I begin by describing the first two dimensions of food justice; I then discuss the role of food in collective self-determination and introduce the idea of collective food relations, discussing in particular the role of manoomin (wild rice) in the collective self-determination of the Anishinaabek in the Great Lakes region; I then explain how disrupting collective food relations can be a form of food injustice.
2016. Written with K. Chief and A. Meadow. Water 8 (8): 1-21.
One of the challenges that face indigenous people regarding the management of water relates to their opposition to the commodification of water for availability to select individuals. External researchers seeking to work with indigenous peoples must learn how to design research or water management projects that respect indigenous peoples. The objectives of this paper are to (1) to provide an overview of the context of current indigenous water management issues, especially for the U.S. federally recognized tribes in the Southwestern United States; (2) to synthesize approaches to engage indigenous persons, communities, and governments on water resources topics and management; and (3) to compare the successes of engaging Southwestern tribes in five examples to highlight some significant activities for collaborating with tribes on water resources research and management.
2016. Written with K. Vinyeta and K. Lynn. In Men, Masculinities and Disaster. Edited by E. Enarson and B. Pease, Chapter 12. Routledge.
Little research has focused on the impacts of climate change on Indigenous masculinity. We open this chapter by briefly describing pre-contact Indigenous conceptions of gender in the U.S., followed by a discussion of how settlement has affected gender roles, relations, and gendered traditional knowledge in Indigenous communities. We then describe some of the ways in which Indigeneity and masculinity are intersecting (or may intersect) with climate change in four key arenas: health, migration and displacement, economic and professional development, and culture. We follow this with a discussion of Indigenous men’s roles in political resistance and climate change resilience. We conclude by summarizing the key implications for Indigenous climate change initiatives and for the ongoing reconstruction and reassertion of Indigenous gender identities.
Climate Change Through an Intersectional Lens: Gendered Vulnerability and Resilience in Indigenous Communities in the United States
2015. Written with K. Vinyeta and K. Lynn. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-923. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 1-74.
The role of gender in defining how indigenous peoples experience climate change in the United States is a research area that deserves more attention. The coupling of climate change with settler colonialism is the source of unique vulnerabilities. At the same time, gendered knowledge and gender-based activism and initiatives may foster climate change resilience. In this literature synthesis, we cross-reference international literature on gender and climate change, literature on indigenous peoples and climate change, and literature describing gender roles in Native America, in order to build an understanding of how gendered indigeneity may influence climate change vulnerability and resilience in indigenous communities in the United States.
2015. In Global Food, Global Justice: Essays on Eating under Globalization. Edited by M. Rawlinson & C. Ward, 143-156. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Environmental injustices impacting Indigenous peoples across the globe are often described as wrongful disruptions of Indigenous food systems imposed by settler-industrial states such as the U.S. I will discuss how focusing on Indigenous food systems suggests a conception of the structure of environmental injustice as interference in Indigenous peoples’ collective capacities to self-determine how they adapt to metascale forces, from climate change to economic transitions. This conception of environmental justice can be contrasted to conceptions focusing on wrongfully disproportionate allocations of environmental hazards. I conclude by connecting environmental justice, the movements of global settler-industrial states, and the food and environmental justice issues of other populations, such as African-Americans in the Detroit, Michigan area.
A Concern about Shifting Interactions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Parties in US Climate Adaptation Contexts
2014. Interdisciplinary Environmental Review 15 (2/3): 114-133.
Indigenous peoples everywhere are preparing for or already coping with a number of climate change impacts, from rising sea-levels to shifting harvesting seasons. It is plausible that the capacity for environmental protection of two political institutions will change in relation to certain impacts:treaties and indigenous governmental jurisdictions recognised by the federal governments of nations such as the USA or Canada. This essay explores critically whether current solutions for these changes depend far too crucially on non-indigenous parties’ coming to an appropriate understanding of indigenous culture and self-determination.
2014. Hypatia: Journal of Feminist Philosophy 29 (3): 599-616.
For some indigenous peoples, climate change impacts can disrupt the continuance of the systems of responsibilities. Within this domain of indigeneity, some indigenous women take seriously the responsibilities that they may perceive they have as members of their communities. For the indigenous women who have such outlooks, responsibilities that they assume in their communities expose them to harms stemming from climate change impacts and other environmental changes. Yet at the same time, their commitment to these responsibilities motivates them to take on leadership positions. I show why, at least for some indigenous women, this is an important way of framing the climate change impacts that affect them. I argue for the how this affects the political responsibilities of nonindigenous parties.
Indigenous Experiences in the U.S. with Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship in the Anthropocene
2014. Written with K. Chief, J. Daigle and K. Lynn. Pinchot Institute for Conservation General Technical Report. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service RMRS-P-71: 161-176.
The recognition of climate change issues facing tribal communities and indigenous peoples in the United States is growing, and understanding its impacts is rooted in indigenous ethical perspectives and systems of ecological knowledge. Tribal communities and indigenous peoples across the United States are re-envisioning the role of science in the Anthropocene; working to strengthen government-to-government relationships in climate change initiatives; and leading climate change research, mitigation and adaptation plans through indigenous ingenuity. Unique adaptive capacities of tribal communities stem from their ethics and knowledge, and help frame and guide successful adaptation. This paper synthesizes key issues and case studies related to climate change impacts on tribally valued forest resources and tribal adaptive responses to climate change.
2013. Climatic Change 120 (3): 517-530.
Federally-recognized tribes must adapt to many ecological challenges arising from climate change, from the effects of glacier retreat on the habitats of culturally significant species to how sea leave rise forces human communities to relocate. The governmental and social institutions supporting tribes in adapting to climate change are often constrained by political obstructions, raising concerns about justice. A justice framework should guide how leaders, scientists and professionals of all heritages and who work with or for federally-recognized tribes understand what actions are morally essential for supporting tribes’ adaptation efforts. This paper motivates a shift to a forward-looking framework of justice. The framework situates justice within the systems of responsibilities that matter to tribes and many others.
2013. Ecological Processes 2 (7): 1-12.
The concept of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has some of its origins in literatures on international development and adaptive management. There is a tendency to want to determine one definition for TEK that can satisfy every stakeholder in every situation. Yet a scan of environmental science and policy literatures reveals there to be differences in definitions that make it difficult to form a consensus. What should be explored instead is the role that the concept of TEK plays in facilitating or discouraging cross-cultural and cross-situational collaboration among actors working for indigenous and non-indigenous institutions of environmental governance, such as tribal natural resources departments, federal agencies working with tribes, and co-management boards.