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“Even in My Years to Come, I’m Still Gonna Be Here”: A Look at the Effects the Rhetoric of Survivance Present in Digital Spaces has on Native American Identity
Transcript of “Even in My Years to Come, I’m Still Gonna Be Here”: A Look at the Effects the Rhetoric of Survivance Present in Digital Spaces has on Native American Identity
The different blogs and websites we have looked at use different rhetorical tactics (both implied and direct) in their presentation to manipulate identities and to persuade visitors to make various identifications, however, all of these different digital/rhetorical spaces— in various ways— effectively promote some form of social cohesion—along with also often promoting some measure of social justice advocacy and even political conscription. • I argue that one of the ways these Native American digital spaces persuade the indigenous individuals who visit them is to demand those individuals put aside their various and extremely varied tribal backgrounds, experiences, and identities, and then— first and foremost— identify themselves broadly as “Native Americans” or “indigenous people” for purposes of community cohesion, and ultimately for the purpose of social justice, activism, and political mobilization. This is yet another rhetoric of survivance. • The commonly ascribed to, cohesive identification as “Native American” is the most useful for action, for change: the unified voice is stronger, and more likely to be heard than the cacophony.
• In order to subvert, resist, and to survive, a marginalized group must be heard— first by their own people, and then by their oppressors.
• The technology of the internet provides a new medium for this voice, for the Native American rhetoric of survivance.
In the digital information age, the internet is the most important new tool for this reimagining, for the re-conceptualization of “Indian-ness”, and for the social cohesion this re-imagining will motivate —even sometimes at the cost of tribal affiliations, connections, and identities. For better and for the worst, a critical battle in the perpetual war to survive and resist is now being fought online. Individuals who identify themselves as Native Americans must form identifications with a cohesive community of often diverse individuals: they must define and identify themselves broadly as “Native American”, while also attempting to maintain their identity as and affiliation with a particular tribe, a particular faction of the larger, more cohesive and comprehensive community— which, fortunately or unfortunately, is often not the primary focus of many online forms of communication and community building for Native Americans. • Throughout this process of identification as “Native American”, individual tribal, clan, and familial identities may become diluted, and consequently less meaningful.
In addition, assuming a collective, seemingly homogeneous, defensively situated, and apparently static identity discounts the complex, multifaceted, constantly changing, continually re-worked and re-negotiated reality of identity. The Sites I Analyze: Discrete Stops Along an Expansive Continuum