Thrivance is My Identity: Moving Beyond Survival

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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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Author Biography

Dianne Baumann, University of Idaho

Dianne Baumann is an assistant professor of Anthropology and American Indian studies at the University of Idaho. Born and raised in the state of Washington, her closest familial ties and connections are in Montana, particularly on the reservation of the Blackfeet Nation, of which she is a registered descendent. Her research investigates how ongoing settler colonialism impacts the lives, relationships and masculine identities of American Indian men, and what values and practices invite push-back against current settler colonial power dynamics.


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How to Cite

Baumann, D. (2023). Thrivance is My Identity: Moving Beyond Survival. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 10(4), 1–12.



Original Manuscript
Received 2023-04-27
Accepted 2023-07-31
Published 2023-09-19