A bout of time: decolonization and futurity in Indigenous speculative fiction

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Burns, Nicole
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Works of Indigenous speculative fiction (SF) depict a perspective of temporality that differs from the mainstream Western conception of time as linear and teleological. Novels such as Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves and Hunting by Stars and Waubgeshig Rice’s Moon of the Crusted Snow portray settler colonialism as an ongoing process rather than a historical event; in doing so, they challenge hegemonic notions of settler futurity by asserting an Indigenous presence and affirming the inevitability of Indigenous futures. This thesis analyzes Dimaline’s and Rice’s works to examine how Indigenous SF reorients readers into Indigenous temporalities and critiques assumptions of Indigenous disappearance or victimry through their portrayals of settler colonial violence and environmental destabilization. These authors use apocalyptic and dystopian settings to demonstrate how Indigenous peoples will survive the end of colonial capitalism through self-determination and a reliance on their own epistemes. Both the characters in and readers of Indigenous SF are motivated to generate Indigenous futurisms from within the present through a revitalization of Indigenous languages and practices. This critical examination of Indigenous SF situates the genre within the contexts of ecocriticism, decolonization (or biskaabiiyang), and futurity to showcase how different perceptions of time alter the possibilities for the future.
Indigenous literature, Speculative fiction, Indigenous futurisms, Survivance, Decolonization, Apocalypse