Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: General Anthropology Division
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Resilience
Secondary Theme: Persistence
“Resilient Sovereignties” addresses the resilience with which Indigenous communities have exemplified in remaining sovereign polities in a variety of different ways. Reflecting institutional and sectorial divisions, separate discourses, and diverse Indigenous boundaries, "Resilient Sovereignties" brings the various strands together around questions of mistranslation and consequent cross-cultural mis-communication between: disciplines of the academy; between the academy and Indigenous communities; between legal systems and languages; and, between land-based Indigenous laws and Settler laws. The courts and other mainstream institutions increasingly acknowledge that Indigenous peoples have stories about places in their traditional territories. Nonetheless, understandings of land and identity remain mired in taken-for-granted Western assumptions. The storied nature of Indigenous identity and its identification with land must be taken more seriously when demonstrably embedded in culturally meaningful language structures that cannot be translated directly into English. Our panel considers how we might move beyond conventional disciplinary silos of linguistics, political theory, law, anthropology, health and environmental studies to create new audiences and research collaborations beyond the academy. Collaboration with Indigenous communities, especially with their leadership and traditional language speakers, enables an ongoing dialogic reassessment of where barriers to mutual understanding are located and how to move past them. We address issues of accountability to Indigenous protocols of governance and decision-making, facilitate the integration of contemporary oral traditions and pedagogies with archival and other sources, and work collaboratively to create capacity in communities. In doing so, these presentations explore the storied understandings of land and the inalienable relations of people to it that are also the essence of Indigenous laws.