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Indigenous Futurisms in Northern-Europe : Recovering the Past, Decolonizing the Present, Diversifying the Future

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Title: Indigenous Futurisms in Northern-Europe : Recovering the Past, Decolonizing the Present, Diversifying the Future
Author(s): Vandewalle, Eveline
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Degree program: Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters
Specialisation: Humanities Track
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
Science fiction (a subgenre of speculative fiction) imagines the future outcomes of current socio-political and technological developments. These stories inspire their audiences, which enable them to influence not only the public imaginary but also policy-making. However, scholars such as Lidchi and Fricke (2019), Mitchell and Chaudhury (2020), Streeby (2018) and Whyte (2018) have pointed out that mainstream speculative fiction is often rooted in structures of Whiteness and ignores the experiences of people of colour and Indigenous (BIPOC for short) societies. These BIPOC narratives demonstrate, however, that there is a plurality of realities and criticise White speculative fiction for its limited frame of reference. In order to diversify the genre and to broaden our point of view, scholars have called for increased engagement with BIPOC Futurisms. This thesis aims to answer this call by focusing on Indigenous Futurisms: works made by Indigenous peoples that use speculative fiction to imagine futures that embed Indigenous perspectives, recover Indigenous experiences and move beyond colonial structures. In this way, the works contribute to decolonization processes. Although the genre is gaining popularity and has received increased attention, there is only little discussion on the Futurisms made by the Sámi people. This thesis therefore, applies the discussion of Indigenous Futurisms to the Sámi context in order to learn what the futures imagined by Sámi artists look like and how they relate to the ones created in other contexts. Through a textual analysis, two works (Sunna Kitti’s 2118 (2018) and Elle Márjá Eira’s Sámiin leat rievttit (2019)), will be described as Sámi Futurisms by examining the genre conventions, narrative elements and forms. The analysis shows that the works embed a variety of Indigenous futurist themes, and centre Sámi characters, experiences, values and ways of living. The works, thus, have the decolonizing impact that is inherent to the genre of Indigenous Futurisms. Additionally, both 2118 and Sámiin leat rievttit refer to the colonial processes that impact(ed) the Sámi while simultaneously demonstrating their resilience and survivance in the face thereof. Finally, by taking into consideration the socio-historical context of the Sámi people, it becomes clear that the works engage with and put forth the revitalization and diversification of Sámi cultural identity.
Keyword(s): Indigenous Futurisms Sámi Futurisms Science fiction Speculative fiction Decolonization Revitalization

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