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Utilizing Art for Indigenous Self-Determination: the Case for Seventh Native American Generation

Lillianna Hoffman, Marcelle Townsend-Cross, Global College, Long Island University, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Colonialism restricts the opportunity for Indigenous peoples to self-determine and reduces the capacity for Indigenous-led arts, media, and self-expression to be produced and shared. There is a significant lack of Indigenous-led media accessible to Native youth that privileges Indigenous voices and Indigenous arts. This qualitative case study explores how one organization, Seventh Native American Generation (SNAG) uses art to foster Indigenous self-determination for contemporary Indigenous artists and Native youth. This paper is situated within an anticolonial framework, with specific emphasis on the self-determination of participants and with considerable respect to Vizenor’s concept of ‘survivance’. During an internship in September through November of 2020 with SNAG, an Indigenous-led non-profit organization that publishes an annual Native youth magazine, I used unstructured and semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and document analysis to explore the utility of art for Indigenous self-determination. The data was analyzed using thematic coding and narrative analysis. This case study found that SNAG uses Indigenous leadership and representation, the value of art-making and sharing, community engagement, land and sustainability, and futures thinking to complete their work. In doing so, this case study concludes that holistic approaches, led by Indigenous peoples that center the community in question with respect to the more-than-human world, provide adequate and authentic routes to self-determination for Indigenous artists and Native youth.

Keywords: Indigenous arts, Indigenous-led, Native youth, self-determination, survivance, colonialism, art for social change




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Lillianna Hoffman

Institution: Long Island University

Type: Poster

Subject: Sociology

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7134