Co-conspiring with Land: What Decolonizing with Indigenous Land and Language Have to Teach Us1

Mel M. Engman, Mary Rose Hermes, Anna Schick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Dominant Western/Northern conceptions of language as an object allow it to be excised from context and held as something static and bounded through its description in grammars and its deployment in various colonial projects. Indigenous epistemologies know language as embedded in a context of relations with bodies, beings, spaces, and time. Writing from perspectives informed by Indigenous epistemologies, language reclamation, and critical literacy, we offer a joint perspective on what a shift to seeing “non-humans, " in terms of animated relationships means for research with Indigenous languages, land, and identity. We offer examples from our research with intergenerational Ojibwe language speakers to theorize what happens when an approach to endangered language documentation embodies this shift of epistemology. What perspectives can be seen as embodied and co-constructed when land is viewed as an interlocutor, not an object of exploitation? We write about the colonizing points of thinking about language as we push back against them and look for new iterations of theory that can speak to innovations in the fields of indigenous reclamation, theories of learning, and applied linguistics. Rethinking “Indigenous language” as interwoven in the context in which the relationships occur, we consider the possibilities of co-constructing and co-conspiring with land.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Language and the Global South/s
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781000600131
ISBN (Print)9780367440145
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 selection and editorial matter, Sinfree Makoni, Anna Kaiper-Marquez, Lorato Mokwena.


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