Transnationalism as a Decolonizing Strategy? ‘Trans-Indigenism’ and Native American Food Sovereignty

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyze how Indigenous communities in the United States have been engaging in trans-Indigenous cooperation in their struggle for food sovereignty. I will look at inter-tribal conferences regarding food sovereignty and farming, and specifically at the discourse of the Indigenous Farming Conference held in Maplelag at the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. I will show how it: (1) creates a space for Indigenous knowledge production and validation, using Indigenous methods (e.g., storytelling), without the need to adhere to Western scientific paradigms; (2) recovers pre-colonial maps and routes distorted by the formation of nation states; and (3) fosters novel sites for trans-indigenous cooperation and approaches to law, helping create a common front in the fight with neoliberal agribusiness and government. In my analysis, I will use Chadwick Allen’s (2014) concept of ‘trans-indigenism’ to demonstrate how decolonizing strategies are used by the Native American food sovereignty movement to achieve their goals.

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