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Spirals of Transformation: Turtle Island Indigenous Social Movements and Literatures

De Vos, Laura M. Spirals of Transformation: Turtle Island Indigenous Social Movements and Literatures. 2020. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.

Spirals of Transformation analyzes the embodied knowledges visible in Indigenous social movements and literatures. It demonstrates how a heuristic of spiralic temporality helps us see relationships and purposes the settler temporal structure aims to make not just invisible, but unthinkable. “Spiralic temporality” refers to an Indigenous experience of time that is informed by a people’s particular relationships to the seasonal cycles on their lands, and which acknowledges the present generations’ responsibilities to the ancestors and those not yet born. The four chapters discuss the Pacific Northwest Fish Wars, several generations of Native women activism, Idle No More, and the No Dakota Access Pipeline movement respectively. Through a discussion of literatures from the same place, the heuristic helps make visible how the place-based values, which the movements I discuss are fighting for, are both as old as time and adapted to the current moment. In this way, spiralic temporality offers a different conceptualization than what the hegemonic settler temporality is capable of.

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