Science fiction from Native American authors create previously unimagined spaces for what the future (and the past) can be. “Indigenous Futurism,” coinged by Anishinaabe scholar Grace L. Dillon, is the unifying theme of her anthology Walking in the Clouds, a collection of science fiction written by Indigenous writers.
What would this country be like if Native people were never colonized? What if Native people weren’t always portrayed in the past or thought of as non-existent? How would future generations uphold Indigenous teachings and culture? These are only a few examples of themes that Native creatives and scholars explore through Indigenous Futurism.
Indigenous Futurism is a growing movement in—but not limited to—Indian Country, where Native peoples dare to reimagine societal tropes, alternative histories and futures through the exploration of science fiction and its sub-genres. This comes in a variety of mediums consisting of comics, fine arts, literature, games and other forms of media.
The concept was coined by Anishinaabe scholar Grace L. Dillon in her anthology of Indigenous writers from across the globe entitled “Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction.”
In the book’s introduction, she writes, “All forms of Indigenous futurisms are narratives of biskaabiiyang, an Anishinaabemowin word connoting the process of ‘returning to ourselves,’ which involves discovering how personally one is affected by colonization, discarding the emotional and psychological baggage carried from its impact, and recovering ancestral traditions in order to adapt in our post-Native Apocalypse world.”
The book features authors such as Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo), Gerald Vizenor, William Sanders and Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfeet).
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