Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew Mexico, Albuquerque, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9632
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleTopash-Caldwell, Blaire K., U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - To aid research on 'Anishinaabe Akiig: Reclaiming Indigenous Relationships to Place and Revitalizing Ecologies in the Great Lakes Region,' supervised by Dr. Les Field
BLAIRE K. TOPASH-CALDWELL, then a graduate student at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, received a grant in April 2018 to aid research on “Anishinaabe Akiig: Reclaiming Indigenous Relationships to Place and Revitalizing Ecologies in the Great Lakes Region,” supervised by Dr. Les Field. In the wake of global climate change anthropological work in Indigenous contexts has focused on crisis intervention. Well-intentioned scholarship has emphasized how climate change disproportionately affects Indigenous communities but has also erased Native voice and agency—deleting them from the future all together. “Neshnabé futurisms” or traditional stories and prophecies together with ecological revitalization and political demonstrations guide Native American ecologists, theorists, and activists in the Great Lakes region in mitigating and surviving ecological destruction of their homelands—destruction caused by climate change and controversial developmental undertakings like oil pipelines and hydraulic fracturing. This dissertation, retitled “Neshnabé Futurisms: Indigenous Science and Eco-Politics in the Great Lakes,” defines Neshnabé futurisms as the multiplicity of potential futures imagined and enacted by Neshnabé traditional knowledge and prophesy as observed in Indigenous-made speculative media, eco-politics leveraged by Women’s Water Walks, and finally, ecological revitalization projects on and near tribal lands in the Great Lakes region. These imagined landscapes of possibility depart from the versions of the future posited by mainstream settler society in which Indigenous communities are vulnerable, helpless or completely irrelevant. More than just revitalizing traditional cultural knowledge, resisting controversial environmental issues, or revitalizing ecologies, these actions when taken together, form unique versions of alternative futures which position Indigenous peoples at the center.