Reimagining Resistance: Achieving Sovereignty in Indigenous Science Fiction

Miriam C Brown Spiers


This essay explores the ways that the science fictional trope of virtual reality has been appropriated by Native authors in order to confront historical trauma and rewrite problematic narratives of victimization. Grounded in the intersections of both science fiction theory and Indigenous knowledge, I place theorists like Darko Suvin in conversation with Vine Deloria and Gregory Cajete to examine Cherokee author Blake Hausman's Riding the Trail of Tears. I argue that Hausman has indigenized the genre of science fiction in order to critique not just the historical Trail of Tears, but also the ways that Euro-American culture continues to romanticize and repeat that narrative. Because the novel takes place in a virtual reality game located in both the past and the present, it can be used to demonstrate Deloria's argument that Native cultures interpret the world primarily through place rather than time. Ultimately, this shift in perspective expands the possibilities of science fiction and emphasizes the value of Cherokee culture and Indigenous worldviews in the twenty-first century.



Native American; science fiction; Indigenous knowledge; Cherokee; Trail of Tears

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Copyright (c) 2016 Miriam C Brown Spiers