Indigenous science (fiction) for the Anthropocene: Ancestral dystopias and fantasies of climate change crises

Type
Literature
Publication
Whyte, K. P. (2018). Indigenous science (fiction) for the Anthropocene: Ancestral dystopias and fantasies of climate change crises. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 1(1–2), 224–242. https://doi.org/10.1177/2514848618777621
Year Published
2018
Description

"Portrayals of the Anthropocene period are often dystopian or post-apocalyptic narratives of climate crises that will leave humans in horrific science-fiction scenarios. Such narratives can erase certain populations, such as Indigenous peoples, who approach climate change having already been through transformations of their societies induced by colonial violence. This essay discusses how some Indigenous perspectives on climate change can situate the present time as already dystopian. Instead of dread of an impending crisis, Indigenous approaches to climate change are motivated through dialogic narratives with descendants and ancestors. In some cases, these narratives are like science fiction in which Indigenous peoples work to empower their own protagonists to address contemporary challenges. Yet within literature on climate change and the Anthropocene, Indigenous peoples often get placed in historical categories designed by nonIndigenous persons, such as the Holocene. In some cases, these categories serve as the backdrop for allies' narratives that privilege themselves as the protagonists who will save Indigenous peoples from colonial violence and the climate crisis. I speculate that this tendency among allies could possibly be related to their sometimes denying that they are living in times their ancestors would have likely fantasized about. I will show how this denial threatens allies' capacities to build coalitions with Indigenous peoples."