Relationality over Coloniality: An Inquiry into Decolonizing Settler-isms with Indigenous Futurisms
Koelwyn, Ryan Ayva
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Reconciliation between non-Indigenous/settler peoples and Indigenous peoples has become a central tenet of Canadian education. In this dissertation I examine the ways a settler-colonizer's capacity to dream a vision of reconciliation into being is fractured. The ways schooling is stuck between, the potential for education to labour a decolonial future and the crisis of responsibility that ensues when education continues to be informed by settler ideologies that reinforce white supremacy and the superiority of Euro-western knowledge, come into focus. In the first two chapters I address colonial inheritances regarding the epistemic violence embedded within normative structures of contemporary society as barriers to relationality. Specifically, shame in schooling and the way settlers engage with positionality shapes and reflects how stolen land and relationality are understood. Decolonization offers some consolation, but how can a non-Indigenous settler person unsettle colonial ways of knowing, being, thinking, and doing while operating within these systems? From there I build an argument that Indigenous Futurisms is a catalyst for new ways of questioning and practicing decolonizing work, driving Indigenous resurgence and re-imagining reconciliation as a generative and relational praxis. In the last two chapters I bring into dialogue Indigenous Futurist artwork to show how these artists' socio-political interventions foreclose colonial ideology and machinations of future without conflating the ongoing dispossession and colonial violence(s) while creating a sense of hope and possibilities for otherwise futures. Zombie counter-narratives presented by contemporary painter, Bunky Echo-Hawk and filmmakers, Lisa Jackson and Jeff Barnaby, reframe Indigenous inheritance as the medicine needed in the post-apocalyptic world. Multidisciplinary artists, Nicholas Galanin, Steven Paul Judd, and Andy Everson reimagine Star Wars with space NDNs (N-D-N-s) highlighting the connective tissue of Indigenous living presence in past-present-future timelines. In conclusion, I suggest that if there is to be any hope of developing a decolonizing practice and an ethical space of engagement, non-Indigenous/settler peoples must step into the void working to un-learn, within educational institutions and beyond.