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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Laura M. Furlan

Second Advisor

Asha Nadkarni

Third Advisor

Kimberlee Perez

Subject Categories

Aesthetics | American Literature | American Popular Culture | American Studies | Epistemology | Indigenous Studies | Metaphysics | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Philosophy


This work covers Indigenous philosophy, history, aesthetics, ethics, axiology, pedagogy, temporality, and language. This is the necessary result of a central but implicit claim made throughout the project, which is that any exploration of Indigenous culture that does not work within such a multi- and inter-disciplinary approach and instead parses and isolates these elements from each other runs the risk of attenuating the complex-systems features of the Indigenous culture it examines. Indigenous cultures are a processual holism. I offer here a piece of cultural analysis/synthesis that is Indigenous from the inside and, as such, does not neglect philosophical foundations. Rather, I endeavor to show how interconnected and interrelated these various elements are to any exploration of Indigenous culture. By describing a shared Indigenous orientation toward what I call “universal sacrality” and “universal relationality,” this project builds from these assumptions described in Chapter One by tracking them across aesthetic modalities (Chapter Two), temporal and narrative constructions (Chapter Three), and performative epistemologiesand pedagogies (Chapter Four). In so doing, I explore the ways in which this universal sacrality/relationality servse as a blockaded awareness of Indigenous interiority: the sacrality that inheres in all things even while it remains on the move in its ineffable transit across time and space. Centrally, this project is about Indigenous temporalities: expressions of Indigenous futurism, the near proximity of our Indigenous past, and the milieu of both that compose our enduring present, and why these conceptualizations remain different from broader American culture and important for us. What makes Indigenous culture different and important is that Indigenous peoples are different and important. It is the self-determination that inheres in tribal collectivity—that is, within the particularities of tribal community as such—that generates the difference and importance. What binds together Indigenous culture is orientation toward sacrality and our intimate relationship to the experiential particularities of place, which necessarily includes an orientation toward complex systems since, unless the abstractive/extractive project of settler-colonial capitalism is completed, lived place is always necessarily imbricated within the complex-system dynamics of experiential, concrete reality itself—in all its beauty, ugliness, pain, and pleasure.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.