Indigenous Futurisms

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Indigenous Futurisms is a movement consisting of art, literature, comics, games, and other forms of media which express Indigenous perspectives of the future, past, and present in the context of science fiction and related sub-genres. Such perspectives may reflect Indigenous ways of knowing, traditional stories, historical or contemporary politics or other cultural realities.

Like Afrofuturism, Indigenous futurisms encapsulate multiple modes of art making from literature to visual arts, fashion and music.[1] The term was coined by Dr. Grace Dillon,[2] professor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program at Portland State University.[3] In the anthology, Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction, Dillon outlines how science-fiction can aid processes of decolonization. Using tools like Slipstream, worldbuilding, science fiction and anthropological First Contact scenarios, Indigenous communities construct self-determined representations and alternative narratives about their identities and futures [4]. Indigenous Futurists critique the exclusion of Indigenous people from the contemporary world and challenge notions of what constitutes advanced technology [5]. In so doing, the movement questions the digital divide, noting that Indigenous peoples have at once been purposefully excluded from accessing media technologies and constructed as existing outside of modernity [6]. The widespread use of personal computers and the Internet following the Digital Revolution created conditions in which, to some extent, Indigenous peoples may participate in the creation of a network of self-representations [7].

Prominent artists working within the field of Indigenous futurism include Skawennati, a Mohawk multi-media artist best known for her project TimeTraveller™, a nine-episode machinima series that uses science fiction to examine First Nations histories,[8] Dr. Grace Dillon, who is editor of Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction,[9] Stephen Graham Jones, a Blackfeet Native American author, and Wendy Red Star, a Native American contemporary multimedia artist.[10] Additionally, Lou Catherine Cornum is a writer and scholar currently working in the field of Indigenous futurism.[11]

Indigenous Futurists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guzmán, Alicia Inez. "Indigenous Futurisms". InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture. University of Rochester. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  2. ^ Gaertner, David. ""WHAT'S A STORY LIKE YOU DOING IN A PLACE LIKE THIS?": CYBERSPACE AND INDIGENOUS FUTURISM". Novel Alliances: Allied Perspectives on Literature, Art and New Media.
  3. ^ "Grace Dillon". Portland State University. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  4. ^ Gore, Amy (December 2013). "Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction". Studies in American Indian Literatures. 25 (4): 100–103 – via Arts & Humanities Citation Index.
  5. ^ Cornum, Lou Catherine (January 26, 2015). "The Space NDN's Star Map". The New Inquiry.
  6. ^ "Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace". Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  7. ^ "Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace". Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  8. ^ Ore, Jonathan. "Machinima art series revisits Oka Crisis, moments in native history". Cbc News. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  9. ^ Dillon, Grace L. Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction. The University of Arizona Press. ISBN 978-0-8165-2982-7.
  10. ^ Nixon, Lindsay. "Visual Cultures of Indigenous Futurisms". Guts Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  11. ^ Cornum, Lindsey Catherine. "Indigenous Futurism and Decolonial Deep Space". VOZ-À-VOZ. e-fagia organization. Retrieved 2 January 2017.

Further reading and multimedia[edit]

  • Dillon, Grace L. Indigenous Futurisms [1], (pdf)
  • Roanhorse, Rebecca, Elizabeth LaPensée, Johnnie Jae, and Darcie Little Badger. “Decolonizing Science Fiction and Imagining Futures: An Indigenous Futurisms Roundtable.” Strange Horizons (Jan. 2017). [2]
  • LaPensée, Elizabeth. “Animating Indigenous Scientific Literacies.” Labocine (Jan. 2017). [3]
  • "Indigenous Futurisms," InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture, Alicia Inez Guzmán, March 15, 2015. [4]
  • "Indigenous Futurisms Mixtape," RPMfm [5]