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Creating Indigenous Futures
Creating Indigenous Futures

April 28, 2018, 11:45 am

ACT Cube

Part of the Zooetics+ Symposium

Looking ahead to future generations, sustained by the strength of our ancestors and wise to the challenges of living in fraught times, how do we bring our values as Indigenous people to our work in creating Indigenous futures? As artists, how do we apply Indigenous science and technology to creating these futures? This session is organized by Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate),a first year Masters of Science candidate in Art, Culture and Technology at MIT.

Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock), Jackson Polys (Tlingit), and Kite (Oglala Lakota)
Respondent: Mario Caro


Courtney M. Leonard

Artist and Filmmaker

Can a culture sustain itself when it no longer has access to the environment that fashions that culture?

Indigenous communities are working diligently to maintain the continuity of indigenous languages, and investing in the need to instill language revitalization programs. Simultaneously, many indigenous people are working diligently to combat the environmental impacts that our respective cultural landscapes face, using global perspectives and allyship. In addition to safeguarding and continuing applied indigenous knowledge, the need to address the policies that impose on our communities is critical.

The importance of not only recognizing the power of indigenous science and technology but also increasing awareness in allyship towards the laws and infringement that deny these systems to exist is key to establishing a protocol for futurity. Our language speaks of the place it comes from. Are we replacing indigenous philosophies with western-coined terms as a way of reclamation or claim and by doing so are we ignoring the philosophies that are already in place? When do we begin to develop a global dictionary to communicate global concerns?


Jackson Polys


Manifest Spectrality – Gift Slippage

In climates where indigeneity enjoys renewed exposure, recognized as a potential source of resistive linkages, test cases to be examined for their capacity to remediate ills of hypermodernity, what of the Indigenous remains capable to counter slippage into progressive, predetermined, co-op forces? The artist’s own work and the work of others—in sculptures, videos, and performances by proxy— confront protections and prohibitions around the sharing of properties. The works present as operating within a host of dematerialized readymade terrains: in continuing deterritorial desires for origins replaced and obscured, in reappearances of denials of contemporaneity, in urges to merge, as against fears of erasure, and in rescuscitative extensions of frontier relations, however disembodied or discursive. Within these domains, amid the risks of continuing conflations of the native as nature, how can the Indigenous be apprehended, imagined akin to species, posited as spectral, and how can the gifts of Indigenous epistemologies slip toward and trouble the new?



Artist and PhD student, Concordia University

Nonhuman Futures

In this presentation, Kite will discuss her art and research practice using the framework of “responsible truth” versus “epistemologies of domination and control” as proposed by Lee Hester. What is contemporary Lakota mythology? How are these investigations made possible through wearable computing? Contemporary mythology is created through rumor, conspiracy, belief, storytelling and non-human knowledge as well as through ideas of ancestral land-base, ‘cosmologyscape’, and events in time forming space. She will present her current computational body-interface as an example of wearable technology as Lakota knowledge-making and computer-human interactions as a way to explore Lakota ontologies of non-human interiority.