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The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics

ISSN: 2472-7318

Decolonial Directions: rivers, Relationships, and realities of community engagement on indigenous lands

by Rachel Jackson, University of Oklahoma and Phil Bratta, Oklahoma State University

Abstract

In “Decolonial Directions: Rivers, Relationships, and Realities of Community Engagement on Indigenous Lands,” the authors present a digital installation that curates their experiences as academics committed to community engagement with a decolonial framework. The splash page of the installation includes an interactive image based on the seven sacred directions acknowledged by both Cherokee and Muscogee Creek cultures, among others. Each direction serves as an individual link, which includes a video (titled “Prayer”) and text-based placard (titled “Process”). The videos and placards comprising the installation present the early stages of a community-engaged project with the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma. Each direction evokes the historical and cultural context of Oklahoma, where 39 federally-recognized Indigenous tribes live as a result of dispossession and/or containment and confront its continued consequences. The authors invoke the seven sacred directions to reveal the limitations, conflicts, and possibilities of doing decolonial work with Indigenous communities on this land. Rather than present a conventional academic argument, the authors offer the installation as a non-linear digital space, prompting participants to select a direction while also imagining decoloniality.

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