Alexander Cavanaugh (Spirit Lake Dakota)

Graduate Research Fellow

Project title: “From Relationality to Resilience: Environmental Justice and Contemporary Dakota and Ojibwe Literature”

Indigenous literatures offer a way to understand how colonization has materially impacted Indigenous communities and also consider the powerful forms of resistance and resilience those communities have developed in response. This project explores the intersection of federal-Indian legal issues and environmental justice activism in contemporary Dakota and Ojibwe literature. It makes the case for tribal-specific knowledges, an approach that is new to Indigenous ecocriticism. A comparative approach to the high plains can also join tribal-specific scholarship to larger interdisciplinary questions about border politics and histories, Indigenous sovereignty, and collective responses to climate change that confront colonial injustices and privilege Indigenous knowledges.