Imagine Otherwise: Katie Walkiewicz on Indigenous and Black Freedom

Jun 15, 2023Podcast

The newest episode of Imagine Otherwise is up now!

In episode 151 of Imagine Otherwise, I interview Indigenous studies and literature professor Katie Walkiewicz about states’ rights and the role this concept has played in US settler colonialism, enslavement, and dispossession as well as in radical projects seeking to create alternative political structures.

Katie Walkiewicz is an enrolled citizen of Cherokee Nation, an assistant professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego, and the associate director of the Indigenous Futures Institute.

We chat about Katie’s new book Reading Territory: Indigenous and Black Freedom, Removal, and the Nineteenth-Century State. The book shows how federalism and states’ rights were used to imagine US states into existence while clashing with relational forms of territoriality asserted by Indigenous and Black people.

We also explore how states rights have been mobilized in two landmark Supreme Court cases: McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020) and Haaland v. Brackeen (2023). (Note: The Brackeen decision was announced right after this episode went live! So while the show notes/social media have been updated to reflect that, our interview was recorded several months before the decision was announced and so reflects that timing.)

In addition to tracing the violent imposition of states’ rights as tools for anti-Indigeneity and anti-Blackness, we also investigate how Black communities and Indigenous nations have sought to reimagine what a state could be, including through statehood campaigns for Black- and Native-run states.

Finally, we close out our conversation with a vision for a world of Indigenous and Black freedom, one beyond the bounds of both the nation and the state.

You can catch the episode on your favorite podcast player or the Ideas on Fire website here: Katie Walkiewicz on Indigenous and Black Freedom

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