Rethinking Political and Cultural Spaces: Intersectional Indigenous Hemispheric Dialogues

Edited by Jessica Sánchez Flores & Juan Tiney Chirix

In a globalized and interconnected world, it is crucial to center the knowledge(s), the saberes, from Indigenous and Black bodies that have historically been deemed as the subjects of study. Oppression transcends borders and notions of time that is why we focus on an intersectional Indigenous and Black hemispheric dialogue to build alliances among Indigenous and Black communities. Together we can afront the capitalist heteropatriarchal violence(s) of invisibilization, genocide, whitening, exploitation towards our communities (both human and more than human) with sustainable solutions for our autonomy and self-determination. The place from which we write, academia is one of the many spaces in which Black and Indigenous peoples are present, resisting, and making changes. For centuries, academia has represented a colonial institution, that under western eyes as Chandra T Mohanty (1984) has argued, as a Black feminist scholar, has appropriated knowledge. In this way, Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999) situates the importance of Indigenous scholars to fight, and resist the perpetuation of colonial legacies by (re) membering, (re) connecting, (re)writing, and (re) righting our histories. 

The contribution of this section focuses on two main objectives: first, it seeks to recognize Indigenous and Black academics knowledge production from different spaces around the globe. Second, the section reviews engage with an interdisciplinary and intersectional analysis to highlight the racial aspect as central to the structural issues that negatively impact communities of color. Each piece explores the legitimacy of knowledge, and bring out the importance to recognize and respect the original knowledge production from Indigenous and Black communities. Daisy Guzman’s review of “Black Autonomy: Race, Gender, and Afro-Nicaraguan Activism by Jenniffer Goett (2017)” brings up the important role of black women’s autonomy through the experience of the Creole and Garifuna people in Central America. Jermani Orjeda Ludena will take the reader to Bolivia, in South America with the review of “Ch’ixinakax utxiwa: A Reflection on the Practices and Discourses of Decolonization by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui (2012)” which problematize the construction of modernity and decolonization in Abiayala. He highlights that the decolonization of South and North American knowledge (s) and methodologies is in a constant struggle. Adrina Linares Palma’s review on “Tangible interventions: the lived landscapes of contemporary archaeology by Marisa Lazzari (2011)’’ explores the concept of heritage and history of the Ixil people in Guatemala. Kaila Schdeen brings a concrete example of sovereignty in the context of the southwest of the United States in her piece “Network Sovereignty: Building the Internet across Indian Country by Marisa Elena Duarte (2017)” where we see a centralization of Native communities using information and communication technologies (ICT) to practice their culture and politics. On a similar line Monstserrat Madariaga-Caro dialogues with Aymara epistemology in “Un mundo ch’ixi es posible. Ensayos desde un presente en Crisis by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui (2018)” highlights the micropolitics as a form of decolonization in our daily lives and current global context. Finally, Josefrayn Sanchez-Perry in “Notions of Cultural Continuity and Disjunction in Maya Social Movements and Maya Archaeology edited by Matthew Liebmann and Usma Rizvi (2008)” recognizes the importance of an interdisciplinary methodology in archeology to break with the traditional categories of disciplines.

The contributors to this section of Rethinking Political and Cultural Spaces: Intersectional Indigenous Hemispheric Dialogues center Indigenous and Black knowledge(s) along with their experiences throughout Abiayala and Turtle Island. Each review adds a different layer to acknowledge, recognize, and situate Indigenous and Black people as agents of their own knowledge. Overall, each piece in this special section explores the mechanisms of resistance and of sobrevivenvia, that have been created by Indigenous and Black people to the different processes of erasure. Finally, we recognize that academia is a venue of privilege for many of us to reclaim and transform Western knowledge productions within colonial institutions. We also want to acknowledge the presence of our ancestral knowledge(s) that have been silenced, erased or dismissed throughout history. Let’s never forget that our fight as scholars is embedded in the politics of writing because writing is political.