Association of American Geographers,
March 29-April 2, 2016 in Chicago
The John & Bev Passerello Indigenous Peoples Travel Scholarship
The objective of the scholarship is to create opportunities for Native graduate and undergraduate
students and community members to attend the AAG meetings, to increase diversity within the discipline,
and to bring Indigenous voices forward.
We are now accepting
applications for travel scholarships of $300 to support Indigenous peoples' involvement in the 2016 AAG Annual Meeting.
Applications due date has been extended to March 11, 2016.
Information on the travel scholarship can be
IPSG Graduate Student Paper Competition
The Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group (IPSG) invites
submissions for its annual Graduate Student Paper Competition, in conjunction with the 2016 AAG general meeting.
We invite graduate student papers addressing indigenous critical cartography, geographic research, education, methodologies, and/or theory.
The Call for Papers and eligibility requirements can be
downloaded here. We have extended the
submission deadline to no later than March 11, 2016. The Student Paper Award shall consist of $150 and a one-year
honorary student membership in the IPSG. Whenever possible, the award
recipient will also receive recognition in the AAG Newsletter.
Award Committee: The award committee shall consist of the IPSG Chair(s)
and the Board of Directors. In the event that there are Co-Chairs, those
Co-Chairs shall submit only one evaluation, for a total of four possible
paper evaluations from the committee. Members of the award committee
must recuse themselves from judging the papers of current or former
students, but they may participate in discussions during which final
selections are made.
Winner: Marcela A. Palomino-Schalscha, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
"Indigenizing Development in the Queuco Valley, Alto Bio Bio, Chile
Struggles over territories and natural resources are usually linked to issues around culture and development. This is particularly the case for indigenous peoples, who often find themselves in complex and contradictory situations.
In Chile, the application of neoliberal policies since the 1970’s, has had significant consequences for Mapuche people, the largest indigenous group in Chile. They have a long history of ongoing struggles, and in the last decades have been faced with new and deep forms of marginalization, dispossession and, more recently, the criminalizatiorn of their demands.
For Mapuche, as for many other indigenous peoples, land, territory and place have been key issues in their survival and resistance. This paper explores the ways in which the struggles over self-determination and recognition are related to meanings of place, environmental knowledges and identity.
From a decolonizing and postdevelopment perspective, and using ethnographic and Action Research tools, this study looks at the experience of four Mapuche-Pewenche communities from the Queuco Valley. It aims to examine the discourses and practices they are constructing around their territories and place, in a process that is understood as an attempt to “indigenize development”.
Winner: Laurie Richmond, University of Minnesota
and Power: Place-making and Alaska Native resistance in the Pacific
halibut fishery on Kodiak Island"
Much research exploring the colonial spatial strategies of indigenous
control and resistance examine the ways that territory has been expressed
and denied over land. This paper examines on the way these processes
have been enacted in the ocean by focusing on the relationship between
the Alaska Native village of Old Harbor and the Pacific halibut fishery
over time. I will explore the way that particular postulations of fish
in space - fishscapes - have impacted and been initiated by indigenous
fishing communities who utilize the resource. I examine how top down
understandings of halibut by fishery scientists who focus on particular
scales, who define stocks, and who delineate regulatory areas have come
to affect the lives of fishermen in places such as Old Harbor. In addition,
fishery managers, often swayed by financial interests from urban areas,
have developed policy strategies that are unfavorable to or inconsiderate
of these rural fishing places. Following the privatization of the halibut
fishery in 1996, fishing quota left Alaska Native villages at disproportionately
high rates, leading to a "checker-boarding" of indigenous
fishing access. I will examine the ways Alaska Native communities on
Kodiak have acted to resist and create their own understandings of fish
in space both outside and within these power centers. Spatial strategies
have included the development and usage of lively local geographies,
the delineation of fishing territory though aggressive fishing techniques,
involvement in the political fishery process, and the development of
community quota entities which buy back fishing access for the village.
Winners: The IPSG and IPKRC co-sponsored the International Indigenous
Geographies Graduate Student Paper Award. Papers were evaluated on their
overall contribution to new knowledge and understanding in the geographies
of Indigenous peoples.
place: Charles (Chuck) Lippstreu, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
on New Terms: Evo Morales and Indigenous Socialism"
When Evo Morales was elected president of Bolivia in early 2006, he
stepped into significantly more than a title role at the helm of one
of the most impoverished ¬- and one of the most Indigenous
states in Latin America. Morales was suddenly a social icon. He faced
an immediate need to define indigenous socialism for the world, based
within the place-based struggles of Bolivia's Indigenous peoples. Because
it focuses on an empowered indigenous majority an almost totally
new circumstance in Latin America Morales' "Indigenous Socialism"
begs a unique definition that even Morales didn't have at hand in the
beginning. To fill the void and define what is clearly a novel political
system both in Bolivia and throughout the region, Bolivia's Constituent
Assembly assigned a unique committee to define the nation on new terms,
combining new political structure with a desire to counteract the lasting
legacy of colonialism and neoliberal intervention. In focusing on this
particular committee La Comisión de Visión de País
or the "National Vision Committee" this paper will
explore how the new Bolivian government hopes to see itself defined
on both the domestic and international stages. It will briefly outline
Bolivia's colonial history and the lead up to indigenous political empowerment.
It will analyze the controversies and arguments presented within the
National Vision Committee, and it will explore reaction both
domestic and international to the conclusions discussed by the
place: Heather Dorries, University of Toronto
Geography/Reclaiming Indigenous Space: Indigenous Contributions to Geographic
Methods and Thought"
Although the knowledges of Indigenous peoples have been marginalized
in academia, the validity of various forms of Indigenous knowledge are
slowly gaining recognition within various disciplinesincluding
Geography. Following the 2003 Association of American Geographers annual
meeting, there were calls to "decolonize the discipline" and
the several journals devoted special editions to research on this task.
Given the long history of research as a colonizing tool, the importance
of decolonizing geography cannot be understated. Yet, the defining the
content and approach to Geography that together constitute a "decolonization"
of the discipline is not a simple task. While many researchers working
in the context of Western research paradigms struggle with this question,
Indigenous researchers have suggested that Indigenous research and research
methodologies have always existed. However, these methods are often
not recognized by the academy.
paper provides a review of current literature exploring Indigenous epistemologies,
methodologies, and the ways in which these alternate ways of knowing
can simultaneously challenge and contribute to geographic thought. Far
from simply forming a contribution to scientific method and knowledge,
the assertion of Indigenous knowledge is also fundamental to the survival
of Indigenous cultures. Thus, this review also provides an overview
of literature addressing the question of how to best engage and include
Indigenous knowledges in a manner that is ethical and respectful from
an Indigenous perspective, and that will support the creation of space
for Indigenous thought in geography.
Winner: Keith W. Lindner of Colorado State University
Ecuador: Race and Nature in the Formation of Nation"
A growing body of literature explores the ways in which nation and national
identity are constructed and produced, and the inclusions, exclusions,
and violences these processes inevitably entail. While categories such
as race, ethnicity and gender have been central to such analyses, nature
- surprisingly has remained relatively unmarked. This paper argues,
to the contrary, that nature is fundamental to productions of nation.
Drawing primarily from Michel Foucault's notion of biopolitics and Giorgio
Agamben's notion of the biopolitical fracture, the paper explores the
ways in which geographies of nature are deeply implicated in the production
of nation in Ecuador, and argues that nature is both constitutive of,
and constituted through, these contested processes. The paper maps techniques
of state biopolitics, aimed at bringing the biological under state control,
in contemporary Ecuador. The case illustrates the ways in which the
state, in its projects of nation building, has sought to transform and
control nature just as much as populations and national identities.
In struggle over the nation, the state and Ecuador's indigenous populations
mobilize competing geographies of nature and modes of political qualification
in complex and mutually constitutive ways. For each, nature is a fundamental
element in nationality and political existence, though for different
reasons and in different ways. In turn, nature is produced in and through
these contested processes in ways that render it inextricable from struggles
over biopolitical order and productions of nation.
Winner: Chie Sakakibara, MA Candidate, University of Oklahoma
Ghost Stories: Contemporary Iñupiat Identity and Place-Making
in the Time of Climate Change"
This paper explores how climate change affects the worldview of the
Iñupiat people of Alaska, particularly their traditional associations
with non-human beings and homeland. In 2005, the author conducted ethnographic
fieldwork in Point Hope (Tikigaq), Alaska, to study how recent environmental
changes associated with global warming are influencing the people's
spiritual and physical interactions with the bowhead whale, the living
manifestation of their identity. Point Hope is one of the longest continually
inhabited settlements in North America, and its history reveals inseparable
ties among the Iñupiat, the whale, and the land. According to
an origin story, the Tikigaq peninsula was once a bowhead whale that
was transformed into the Iñupiat homeland. Thus, the land serves
as the foundation of the people's cultural identity by unifying the
Iñupiat and the whale. The Iñupiat sense of place has
been experiencing a major transition since the 1976 relocation from
their original settlement following severe flooding and erosion. The
villagers' attachment to their original home, however, is strongly revealed
in their contemporary storytelling tradition, which involves ghosts,
mysterious creatures, and ancestral spirits that strengthen the people's
ties with the old home. This storytelling enhances a process of place-making
that bridges the Iñupiat past and present, namely the memories
of their former and current settlements. Elucidating the cultural landscapes
as well as the recent development of supernatural stories in Point Hope,
this paper examines how the people currently engage themselves with
their homeland through emotional and sensory experiences in this time
of radical environmental changes.
Winner: Julia Christiansen, MA Candidate at the University of Calgary
Knowledge, Political Change, and Local Participation in Resource Management
in the Northwest Territories, Canada"
Recent policy implemented in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada,
has attempted to formalize the legitimacy of traditional knowledge in
resource management. In this paper, I focus on the dimensions of the
increased application and consideration of traditional knowledge in
resource management in the Mackenzie Valley region of the NWT. Post-colonial
literature provides a theoretical framework from which to explore how
the formal application of traditional knowledge in resource management
demonstrates shifting power relations in the NWT, as well as changing
dynamics in the social production of space. Moreover, it allows for
an exploration of the use of traditional knowledge within a broader
politics of knowledge and of the ways in which knowledge systems reflect
power relations in a given place. I also explore how political developments,
such as comprehensive land claims negotiations and settlement, self-government
agreements and the devolution process, are leading to shifts in local
participation in resource management decision-making. A qualitative
analysis based on ethnographic interviews, case studies and secondary
data is employed to assess how the application of traditional knowledge
in the Mackenzie Valley indicates increasing Aboriginal control over
local lands and resources.
Honourable mention: Victoria Guyatt, MA Candidate at the University
Wahine and Science: Exploring relationships between Maori women, Indigenous
knowledge and Western science."
This paper critically reviews Western science through a mana wahine
(Maori feminist) framework. This analysis highlights the importance
for Maori women to define reality for themselves, and not allow outsiders
definitions of knowing to be placed upon them. Critiques on science
appear to rethink much of what is valued in western culture, in which
scientific reasoning and individualism are emphasized in an attempt
to bring the world into a single science of order. Women
have been excluded from these processes of defining culture, because
it is argued they are not inherently rational beings, and have thus
been constructed as Other. Based on information drawn from interviews
and analysed using discursive analytical techniques, I argue that while
literature suggests women, especially women of minority ethnic groups,
are severely disadvantaged and disempowered by a number of factors within
science, the Maori women within this research, while at times exhibiting
some negative experiences, more often than not felt there position of
being a Maori women in science was empowering. While there were a number
of examples of the Maori womens worldview working in conflict
within their chosen scientific discipline, there were also many positive
examples of the role of science enriching their lives, and the Maori
womens worldview providing a new space for science to work within.
I argue that focusing on the positive working relationships between
Indigenous knowledge and Western science is an integral part of moving
forward and re-writing Maori womens roles within science, and
sciences role within Maori womens lives.
Winner: Janice Hardin, West Virginia University
Rescaling of the Innu.
This thesis examines the interaction between the Innu of Labrador, an
indigenous people in eastern Canada, and the state since the middle
twentieth century. The changing spatiality of this interaction can be
understood through the analysis of the politics of scale. The scale
of Innu social practices has historically been both wide-ranging and
fluid. The restructuring of state space after the Second World War lead
to Labradors inclusion as a province in Canada. This event resulted
in a change in the Innus legal status with respect to the state
from a lack of formal legal recognition to the status of citizen, which
greatly differs from the recognition of indigenous peoples in Canadas
other provinces. The Innus designation as citizens has impacted
their political struggles with the state.
the 1950s onward, the state has been increasingly involved in promoting
capital accumulation in and the militarization of the lands the Innu
have traditionally occupied. The states solution to the unwanted
presence of the Innu was to forcibly settle, and therefore rescale,
them in two settlements on the easternmost edge of Labrador in the 1960s.
The struggle by the Innu to regain their rights since then has been
shaped by not only their local dependence, but also the difficulty they
have faced in trying to form coalitions with local stakeholders. Since
the 1980s, the Innu have had to construct multi-scaled coalitions with
other individuals and organizations at broader scales to counter the
states militarization and promotion of mega-development projects
on their lands.
mention: Mara Goldman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Masai Place Names: Creating Space for Participatory Conservation Planning.
Winner: Julie Rice
the Forces of 'Deep Regret': Contemporary Efforts at Memorializing Wounded
In many people's opinionboth Indian and non-Indianrecognition
of the significance and sacredness of W ounded Knee, in the form of
a national memorial, is long overdue, for despite the American compulsion
to create patriotic landscapes of heroism, triumph, and martyrdom, there
is no national monument anywhere in the United States that honors the
history of an indigenous nationís defense of itself. The purpose
of my research is to describe and clarify the controversies that continue
to shape the design, placement, interpretation, and control of the proposed
Wounded Knee National Tribal Park memorial.