Thrivance is My Identity: Moving Beyond Survival
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Keywords:Native American, Blackfeet, Thrivance, Survivance, Settler Colonialism
In this article I explore the significance of ancestral homelands to Blackfeet identity. Through the analysis of Blackfeet stories and our historical and on-going fight for land sovereignty I examine the entanglements of settler colonial formations and ideologies within Indigenous communities without reinforcing a problematic “plight of the Indian” logic. While the information presented here may contain some elements of pain, the focus centers on pushing beyond a theory of survivance to a theory of thrivance, emphasizing an understanding of our own Blackfeet ways-of-knowing and practices. A thrivance focus is important as it moves beyond a statement of survival to a statement of “we are here, we are productive, and we continue to thrive and contribute to today’s world.” In addition, thrivance accentuates the importance of ancestral homelands and traditional practices to healing and a positive sense of Indigenous identity and dignity. This emphasis on Blackfeet identity contributes to Native American studies, ethnic studies, and settler colonial studies; but most importantly it offers the hope of understanding through reintroducing a positive Indigenous identity, thus encouraging more balanced and harmonious communities.
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