Dawnland Voices 2.0: Sovereignty and Sustainability Online

Academic Article


  • Indigenous communities are marrying ecological humanities and digital humanities in ways that productively expand the definition of both terms. On the ecological side, indigenous activism argues for the sustainability and interdependence of the natural and the human. In this, it challenges many of the same things that ecocriticism challenges—the supremacy or distinctiveness of the human, anthropocentric notions of time—though such activism predates ecocriticism quite a bit. Many traditional indigenous narratives assert close affinity, even identity, between a people and their river, for instance, or a people and their animals, or people and trees; they were figuring nonhuman agency long before Bruno Latour. On the DH side, indigenous people are engaging electronic media outside major DH structures and funding. These insurgent engagements challenge the very definition of DH as a field (with its predilection for large-scale archives, metadata, and open access) while also raising questions about the sustainability of the digital itself. Despite the implicit teleologies still assumed by many people—from oral to written to digital—indigenous ecological digital humanities (EcoDH) never present themselves as the end point or answer. Rather, they are part of a vast and diverse communicative ecosystem that includes petroglyphs, living oral traditions, newsletters, wampum, sci-fi novels, baskets, and language apps.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • March 2016
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

  • PMLA  Journal
  • Keywords

  • 1900-2099
  • American literature
  • Native American writers
  • New England
  • digital technology
  • ecocriticism
  • nature
  • poetry
  • prose
  • sovereignty
  • sustainable development
  • the indigenous
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 392
  • End Page

  • 400
  • Volume

  • 131
  • Issue

  • 2