Excerpt: As the fiftieth anniversary of the “Fall of Saigon” approaches, and as the global displacement of peoples has persisted and indeed accelerated during these past five decades, two new developments in Asian American and refugee studies have emerged to help us, in the words of Aimee Bahng, “stay in the game and face the end times ethically” (Aimee Bahng and Thea Nagle). Scholars such as Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi, Candace Fujikane, Jonathan Okamura, Quynh Nhu Le, Dean Saranillio, Juliana Hu Pegues, and Iyko Day have begun to map the terrain of what Gandhi calls the “distinct yet overlapping modalities of refugee and Indigenous displacement, shaped by entangled histories of war, imperialism, settler colonialism, and US military violence” (2). Concurrently, the insights of Vietnamese diasporic artists and scholars who write from and through the expertise of refugees themselves have become increasingly important to navigating the complex, diasporic, transnational, and migratory futures that face us all. Scholars such as YӃn Lê Espiritu, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Long Bui, Catherine Fung, Marguerite Nguyen, Lan Duong, Ma Vang, and Viet Thanh Nguyen as well as writers and language artists such as Monique Truong, Bao Phi, Aimee Phan, Beth Nguyen, Lan Cao, and—again, this time in his role as Pulitzer Prize–winning fiction writer—Viet Thanh Nguyen, have proffered paradigm shifts in understanding refugees not as helpless victims in need of rescue by mighty nation-states, but as astute yet insufficiently recognized observers and critics of geopolitical and social dynamics who themselves understand the offer of refuge itself not as simple humanitarian generosity but also as a self-aggrandizing global alibi for continuing harm.

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Abstract: Between Reconstruction and the early Cold War, Indigenous communities in Oklahoma faced an existential crisis. Over the course of the nineteenth century, the United States applied intense pressure on Indigenous communities in the path of US settlers to relocate to Indian Territory, an unincorporated US territory at the center of the continent. US officials offered the “promise” – as US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch famously termed it in his groundbreaking opinion for McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020) – that Indian Territory would be Indigenous land forever. In 1889, those same officials reversed themselves and began opening parts of the territory to American settlers. Faced with disaster and bereft of resources, many Indigenous people formed strategic relationships with White settlers to survive and thrive in an otherwise hostile environment. Drawing stories and perspectives from Comanche, Southern Cheyenne, Cherokee, Absentee Shawnee, Choctaw, Seminole, Kanza, Citizen Band Potawatomi, Chickasaw, Mvskoke (Muscogee Creek), Mississippi Choctaw, Sac and Fox, Kiowa, Plains Apache, Kansas Kickapoo, and Prairie Band Potawatomi communities, this dissertation follows a suppression and resurgence of Indigenous sovereignty across Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, the 1920s, the Great Depression, World War II, the early Cold War, and finally the Red Power era. Over this broad swath of time, Indigenous-settler relationships varied in scope and scale, evolved, and were shaped by race, class, gender, and a host of other factors. Gradually, these partnerships became more sophisticated and involved larger groups of people. Still, Indigenous-settler relationships were never ideal; Indigenous people formed ties with White settlers as a stand in solution after the federal government suppressed their systems of self-governance during Reconstruction. Until they were able to rebuild their tribal governments, they did the best they could with the resources that they had. With the assistance of their allies, Indigenous communities in Oklahoma revitalized their governments from the 1970s onward but retained a skillset of making alliances.

Description: What does the first poetry in Australia, written by the Judge who declared the land terra nullius, tell us about the singular nature of colonialism here? On 24 February 1817, Barron Field sailed into Sydney Harbour on the convict transport Lord Melville to a ceremonial thirteen-gun salute. He was there as the new Judge of the Supreme Court of Civil Judicature in New South Wales – the highest legal authority in the turbulent colony. Energetic and gregarious, Field immediately set about impressing his vision of a future Australia as a liberal and prosperous nation. He courted the colony’s leading figures, engaged in scientific research and even founded Australia’s first bank. He also wrote poetry: in 1819, he published First Fruits of Australian Poetry, the first book of poems ever printed in the country. In England, Field had been the theatre critic for The Times, and a friend of such major Romantic writers as William Wordsworth, Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt. In New South Wales, he saw the chance to become a major figure himself, someone who could shape culture and society in enduring ways. Founding Australian poetry was part of that ambition; so too was law. Asked to determine whether Governor Macquarie had authority to impose taxes in the colony, Field issued a fateful judgement that established, for the first time, what is now called terra nullius. This book is an extraordinary reconstruction of the circumstances and implications of Field’s actions in New South Wales using an original and revealing method: the close reading of his poetry.

Abstract: Cartography has historically been a weapon of colonists used to demarcate land stolen by empire. More recently, however, ‘critical cartographies’ have emerged as a means of critiquing colonial discourses, revealing maps as representations of the dominating ideologies that produce them. This article explores a series of ongoing questions raised by our own work seeking to map the intersection of colonial and Indigenous governance regimes in so-called Australia. As a visualisation of the intense intervention into Indigenous lives by the settler state, this map tells a story of colonial extraction and elimination, as well as of Indigenous survival, thriving, resistance and resurgence, “denaturalis[ing]” settler geographies of power to contextualise current tensions in governance relations within a continuing history of colonisation (Razack, 2018). Drawing on Indigenous critical theory and the Latourian concept of the immutable mobile (1986) as a way of naming the apparatus that operationalises colonial mapping, we explore the ethical and political dynamics of critical cartography, characterised by a tension between reinscribing and undoing colonial power. We argue that, in navigating and attempting to foreground these tensions, our mapping project has value in its visual inversion of conventional representations of sovereignty. It reveals the fragility, incompleteness, and material violence of colonial sovereignty, which is so often understood as neutral and inevitable. It maps this colonial project in relation to and as rendered impossible by the endurance of Indigenous sovereignty. Against the colonial imagining of Indigenous sovereignty as fragile, disappearing and mutable, it resituates this sovereignty as inhering in the land and in Indigenous peoples as “resilient existent” and as the true immutable.

Abstract: Indigenous faith practices have enabled persistence, resistance, and transcendence despite centuries of settler colonial historical oppression. Spirituality, ceremony, and religious practices are fundamental aspects of Indigenous wellness, resilience, and liberation from a colonial mindset. The purpose of this research was to understand U.S. Indigenous peoples’ perspectives of spirituality and religion from the settler colonial framework of historical oppression, resilience, and transcendence as it relates to wellness. Data from critical ethnographic interviews with 31 participants from rural reservation communities in the Southeast and an urban Northwest environment were analyzed using reconstructive thematic qualitative analysis. Themes include (a) “You’d be persecuted … for your beliefs”: historical oppression of Indigenous beliefs; (b) “I was always told that church was wherever you were”: integrative faith practices; and (c) “No matter how hard times get … never forget to pray”: prayer through adversity. Results clarified how settler colonial power differentials tended to relegate Indigenous spiritual and faith practices to a lower status than Western European religions, namely Christianity. Participants resisted this oppression by ingeniously integrating tribal and Western European faith practices to promote wellness. This article provides pathways to prevent clinical bias and harm by expanding awareness and familiarity with localized and heterogeneous faith practices among Indigenous communities. Practitioners can honor Indigenous peoples’ preferences, acknowledge Indigenous faith practices as central for wellness. They can become reflexive about how an internalized settler “colonial mindset” may cause bias and perpetuate historical oppression by delegitimizing Indigenous worldviews and faith practices.


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