How Do You Like It So Far uses pop culture to take soundings of a society in transition, exploring intersections with civic imagination and engagement, and social and political change. Henry Jenkins and Colin Maclay are your guides on this adventure.

Episode 116: Indigenous Futurisms with Grace Dillon

Grace L. Dillon is an American academic and author. She is a professor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Program, in the School of Gender, Race, and Nations, at Portland State University. She received her PhD in literary studies with an emphasis in sixteenth-century literature, and her recent research regards Science fiction studies, especially the use of science fiction by indigenous peoples around the world. Similar to the concept of Afrofuturism, Dillon is best known for coining the term Indigenous Futurisms, which is a movement consisting of art, literature and other forms of media which express Indigenous perspectives of the past, present and future in the context of science fiction and related sub-genres. Dillon is the editor of Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction, which is the first anthology of Indigenous science fiction short stories, published by the University of Arizona Press in 2012. Previously, Dillon has edited Hive of Dreams: Contemporary Science Fiction from the Pacific Northwest, which was published in 2003 by Oregon State University Press. This is an anthology of science fiction from writers living in the Pacific Northwest, and features works from authors such as Greg Bear, Octavia Butler, and Molly Gloss. She also coedited The Routledge Handbook of CoFuturisms with Taryne Jade Taylor, Isiah Lavender III, and Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay. Here, we discuss with Grace her origins into science fiction and the mentorships she received from the distinguished feminist science fiction writer, Ursula K. LaGuin. We define the concept of Indigenous Futurisms and its origins, taking time to understand the representation of the future and of tradition and what indigenous scientists have taught us about environmental sustainability. She also discusses the genre in other media, including film, television, and graphic novels, all of which are experiencing the growth of native contributions in recent years.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

In the article that inspired the episode, friend of the podcast Jeff Yang wrote about indigenous responses to James Cameron’s Avatar:
Opinion: The awkward truth about the new ‘Avatar’ is far bigger than its bottom line | CNN

Grace Dillon Books
Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigeneous Science Fiction
The Routledge Handbook on Co-Futurisms

Her Mentor:
Ursula K. LaGuin
The Dispossessed

Futurisms and other Science Fiction Subgenres:
Indigenous Futurisms
African Futurisms
Gulf Futurisms
Israeli Futurisms
Asian Futurism
Latinx Futurism
Native Time Slips
Alternate Histories

Roots of Afrofuturism:
Mark Dery; Flame Wars
Samuel R. Delaney
Tricia Rose
Alondra Nelson
Nnedi Okorafor

Indigenous cultures and policies:
Two Spirit
Lost generations
Mi’kmaq Language
Crystal Echo Hawk

Native Science and Scientists:
Gregory Cajete
High context vs low context science
Robin Wall Kimmerer; Braiding Sweetgrass
Global Weirdness
Spiral to the Stars
Kyle Whyte
Indigenous Mobilities

Literary Works (including Graphic Novels):
Moon of the Crusted Snow
Louise Erdich; Future Home of the Living God
Claire G. Colman; Terra Nullius
Sherman Alexie
Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection

Film and Television:
Reservation Dogs
Molly of Denali
Taika Waititi
Night Raiders
Jeff Barnaby
File Under Miscellaneous
Resident Alien“Radio Harry”
Helen Haig Brown
The Cave
Wayne Blair; Cleverman
Alien races on Star Trek
Richard Dreyfuss

Further Resources suggested by Grace Dillon:
Indigenous Community: Rekindling the Teachings of the Seventh Fire by Gregory Cajete (2015)
Sandtalk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World by Tyson Yunkaporta (2020)
Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science by Jessica Hernandez (2022)
We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (2017)
Welp: Climate Change and Arctic Identities by Michaela Stith (2021)
Daniel H. WilsonRobopocalypse; Robogenesis
Rebecca Roanhorse
Antlers – Directed by Scott Cooper (2021)

Check out these previous episodes:
Episode 73: Increasing Visibility is Existential for Native Communities, with Crystal Echo Hawk
Episode 83: Indigenous Voices for Environmental Justice with Candis Callison & Julian Brave NoiseCat

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“In Time” by Dylan Emmett and “Spaceship” by Lesion X.
In Time (Instrumental) by Dylan Emmet
Spaceship by Lesion X
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