Abstract

This issue navigates the intersections of Black and Indigenous ecologies. Colonial epistemologies still marginalize Black and Indigenous peoples in discussions about ecologies: they neglect Black and Indigenous peoples’ disproportionate environmental dispossession and the effects of environmental racism while “naturalizing” Black and Indigenous peoples as closer to the natural environment. The contributions to this issue draw on convergences between environmental inequality, sonic ecologies, and the legacies of colonialism to shape ongoing conversations. The issue traces historical as well as contemporary relationships and attends to the linkages and disruptions at work in Black and Indigenous ecologies, especially in the midst of climate change, which continues to affect those who are least responsible for the planet’s degradation. The articles in this issue make visible entwined histories in Black and Indigenous ecologies, as well as histories of oppression, that may trouble territorial boundaries and expand relationalities.

This special issue navigates the intersections of Black and Indigenous ecologies. It began amid a global pandemic when access to clean air, housing, and places to lock down, to breathe, and to be safe reinvigorated questions about ecologies, ecological access, and ecological devastation across the world. That these questions were inevitably enmeshed with questions of race and racialization, the ongoing and innovating effects of slavery and colonialism, capitalism and the neoliberalization of the world economy and its attendant ramifications on Indigenous peoples around the world led us to ask how current conversations on ecologies might expand the terrain of Black and Indigenous ecologies. Indeed, the very term ecologies, which encompasses natural and constructed environments, understories, and overstories that allow renewed attention to notions of mobility, modernity, protest, climate change, human and nonhuman relationality, and more, came into sharper focus in popular and critical discourses. While Jaboury Ghazoul’s provocative description of ecology as a matter of interaction among organisms—“what they eat, and what eats them”—bespeaks a worldview that emphasizes “environmental connectedness,” these connections remain inseparable from continuing legacies of slavery, colonialism, dispossessions, and violence that have concerned Black and Indigenous studies.1

Ecologies shape and are shaped by macro as well as micro units of the community, the nation-state, and the global. They are also fundamental to the ways we approach and understand historical, social, political, and economic relationships around the world. However, colonial epistemologies continue to marginalize Black and Indigenous peoples in discussions about ecologies; indeed, the neglect of Black and Indigenous peoples’ disproportionate environmental dispossession and environmental racism displaces them from ecological conversations while “naturalizing” Black and Indigenous peoples as closer to the natural environment.2 Work on race and ecology in the United States, for instance, such as through Black feminist ecocriticism, and postcolonial critiques of imperialist environmental devastation, have generated a broad range of conversations about ecologies and their relationships to Black and Indigenous communities. Chelsea Mikael Frazier points out how ecocritical discourses must attend to “the foundational knowledge that Black, African-descended women were not environmental justice leaders by coincidence and that it wasn’t just a result of their suffering at the hands of ecological violence.”3 Although these conversations may have been situated in the United States, they reveal how Black people’s ecological concerns, whether in the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, or other parts of the world, are crucial sites yet for ecocritical study. As the articles gathered in this special issue show, gaps remain in these ecocritical conversations on a local and global scale.

The simultaneity of Blackness and Indigeneity seeks not to elide the unique and at times entwined historical legacies that make these categories possible but to put pressure on how Blackness and Indigeneity are often imagined as separated by a chasm when in actuality, for many people across the globe, this entwinement is a fact of being. Yet it is critical that this entwinement is acknowledged, even while we attend to distinctions. It is tempting to naturalize solidarities between and among oppressed groups, however such assumptions erase and minimize the limits of solidarity and its attendant politics.4 In this way we take seriously Tiffany Lethabo King’s invitation to develop “new grammatical and conceptual frames for thinking about how relations of conquest structure Black and Indigenous life.”5 This means that by reading critical Indigenous studies together with Black studies, the contributors often reveal how operations of colonial logics structure and disaggregate these categories.

Too often relationships between Black and Indigenous ecologies are read solely through reactive or deficit lenses, or primarily in terms of forced colonial and capitalist relations. Geographically, these conversations are also often limited. For example, the I-Kiribati and African American scholar Teresia Teaiwa has explained that “apart from a few acclaimed writers like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and a handful of other scholars, the Pacific has been ignored by African and Afro-Diasporic artists and scholars” and vice versa.6 At the same time, the Indigenous Pacific has its own histories of Blackness, of racism and racialization, that have particular ecological ramifications. Authors and scholars, including Tagi Qolouvaki, Craig Santos Perez, Joy Enomoto, Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, as well as Teaiwa, have called for those from Oceania to acknowledge the anti-Black racism prevalent in Indigenous Pacific communities and how it affects ecologies. Furthermore, Melanesian Pacific Islanders invoke shared anticolonial activism histories with African diasporas to advocate for liberation from exploitation that they specifically represent as bound up in the environment.7

Indeed, the ways that Indigenous and Black activists around the world have taken up Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality remind us that calls for racial and Indigenous justice are not disconnected from each other. Qolouvaki, of Fijian and Tongan heritage, states that “for Islanders today, Black Lives Matter represents a new (old) call for Oceanic solidarity in the legacy of Black-Pacific alliances, an opportunity to recognize and resist white supremacy and antiblackness amongst and within us in the service of loving blackness everywhere.” Simultaneously, Mark Rifkin reminds us that “even in good faith toward meaningful engagement, the assumption of a shared set of terms, analyses, or horizons of political imagination between Black and Indigenous struggles may be premature or may obfuscate significant distinctions.”8 These movements in solidarity and the distinctions between them can highlight the intersections of racist and environmental violence and offer opportunities to make visible convergences between anti-Black, anti-Indigenous policies (including health and land policies) that directly impact ecologies in the United States, West Papua, South Africa, Nigeria, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and beyond.

This special issue draws on convergences between global Black and Indigenous calls for justice to contribute to ongoing conversations and generate new perspectives about the entanglements between ecologies and environmental inequality in Black and Indigenous contexts. We foreground scholars and writing that generate new ways of thinking about the relationships between ecologies, Indigeneity, and Blackness by tracing historical as well as contemporary relationships that attend to the linkages and disruptions at work in Black and Indigenous ecologies, especially in the midst of climate change, which continues to affect those who are least responsible for the planet’s degradation. Our issue specifically centers environmental humanities discussions that prioritize reading Black and Indigenous frames of references together.

The articles in this issue make visible entwined histories in Black and Indigenous ecologies, as well as histories of oppression, that may trouble territorial boundaries and expand concepts of relationship. By prioritizing writing that decenters the United States in conversations about Black and Indigenous relationality, the articles focus on a range of places, including southern Africa, Chile, Suriname, Guåhan (Guam), Hawai‘i, and the Caribbean. This transnational lens permits an examination of American examples in a global context that engages in conversations that go beyond US geographic contexts. In this way, this issue highlights more expansive entanglements of Black and Indigenous ecologies.

The questions that initially grounded the issue sought to interrogate how the worldwide protests against racial injustice and state violence generated new discursive frames or instilled new energy into the study of Black and Indigenous ecologies. What does bringing such studies together illuminate about environmental racism and extractive violence in Black and Indigenous contexts? How might attending to Black-Indigenous relationality change representations of and approaches to climate change and other forms of ecological precarity and destruction? What do convergences of Black and Indigenous detention/incarceration with racist and colonial health/land/labor policies reveal? In what ways would historicizing African ecologies as fundamental to a global comparative Indigenous studies challenge the marginalization of Africa in studies of Indigeneity and Blackness? On the one hand, in what ways do Pacific Islanders’ anticolonial activism histories offer opportunities for solidarity with African diasporas? On the other hand, how do calls to acknowledge anti-Black racism prevalent in Indigenous Pacific communities illustrate the problems and (im)possibilities of thinking about Indigeneity with Blackness? What approaches become visible when mobility and migration are recalibrated through urban ecologies and the role of constructed environments in the movement of people, animals, things, and viruses across different historical periods? What other questions of Indigenous and Black mobilities can an ecological focus allow us to examine? What futures, utopian or dystopian, does Black and Indigenous environmentalism make possible? The issue is far from comprehensive; it is simply one way of grappling with some of these questions. Ultimately, this issue should be read as advocating for more engagement with Black and Indigenous ecologies in the academic sphere and beyond.

Expanding Ecologies

When Nathan Hare, in his seminal essay in a special issue of the Black Scholar, argued that Black people and their environmental interests “stand in contradiction to the ecology movement in the United States,” he also charted a perspective of ecological study that focused on the relationship not solely with the natural environment but with the built environment as well.9 According to Hare, the very concept of Black ecology differs in degree and nature from white ecological concerns, and so attending to Black environmental issues demands an understanding of their expansive scope. While Hare’s focus may have overlooked the ecological concerns of Indigenous peoples in the United States, he agitated for a diversity of approaches that expands what constitutes ecologies, on the one hand, and aligned social, political, and economic systems to environmental concerns, on the other. This issue takes up these agitations by foregrounding a transnational and transdisciplinary approach to what constitutes Black and Indigenous ecologies.

In Black studies, especially in the United States, studies on ecologies reveal the excising of Blackness from the concerns of environmental justice and studies in ecology. Kimberly K. Smith, for instance, examines how issues of land and land stewardship became fundamental to Black critical understanding of freedom and autonomy. While Smith examines the relationship between Black thought and the environment, Kimberly N. Ruffin interrogates how Black Americans are constituted as “ecological others,” and thus their concerns are untethered from environmental concerns. Furthermore, Camille T. Dungy argues that, while African Americans have been fundamental to the natural fabric of the US nation, they continue to be noticeably absent from critical environmental studies. J. T. Roane examines Black communities’ engagement with practices of place and alternative figurations of land and water in the antebellum and post-emancipation periods.10 What these have in common is a concerted attempt to expand the terrain of ecocriticism by reinterpreting Black histories and literary works to reveal their ongoing, yet overlooked and/or elided, engagement with questions of ecologies.

Another approach frames studies in ecology and ecological devastation as part of the ongoing colonial and neocolonial impositions on Indigenous lands and the simultaneous enslavement of Africans. Such approaches, like Kathryn Yusoff’s, understand the deep temporal spans of ecologies through a geological time that transcends the limited lifespan of Western epistemology. Other scholars, such as Malcom Ferdinand, argue insistently that, by dismissing colonialism, “ecologist and green activists overlook the fact that both historical colonization and contemporary structural racism are at the center of destructive ways of inhabiting the Earth.”11 Ferdinand’s book, perhaps one of the most extensive works that entwine colonialism with ecological devastation, argues that “colonial inhabitation,” which displaced Indigenous people from their land, enslaved Africans, and turned natural ecologies into plantations, is fundamental to our understanding of our current ecological devastations. The work of Ferdinand and others, such as Axelle Karera and Kwame Edwin Otu, responds to a December 12, 1991, memo circulated at the World Bank that was signed by Lawrence Summers, a former chief economist there. The now-infamous memo begins as follows:

Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [least developed countries]? . . . A given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.12

The Summers logic is one that frames Black, Indigenous, and racialized populations in the so-called least developed countries, many of which are grappling with neocolonial and neoliberal policies, as the site of ecological devastation.

Entwinements in these framings as well as disruptions to them are also present in definitions of Indigeneity. Scholars such as Alice Te Punga Somerville (Te Āti Awa, Taranaki) and Emalani Case (Kanaka Maoli) have pointed out that Indigeneity is a dynamic term that is difficult to pin down, because if you try to, then, as Te Punga Somerville highlights, someone gets left out or “you end up including some people you didn’t mean to.”13 In the wider Pacific, Case points out that definitions of indigeneity/Indigeneity also don’t always capture the heterogeneity of people and what they call themselves. In her words, “Not all Pacific Islanders identify themselves as such, and not all want to.”14 For our part, this issue wants not to apply the term Indigenous as a gatekeeping concept but to acknowledge Indigeneity’s complexity and dynamism.

Jodi A. Byrd (Chickasaw), drawing on how Indigenous studies scholars such as J. Kēhaulani Kauanui (Kanaka Maoli) and Jean M. O’Brien (White Earth Ojibwe) have also delineated the problems of collapsing Indigeneity into racialized frameworks, writes that

this conflation masks the territoriality of conquest by assigning colonization to the racialized body, which is then policed in its degrees from whiteness. Under this paradigm, American Indian national assertions of sovereignty, self-determination, and land rights disappear into U.S. territoriality as indigenous identity becomes a racial identity and citizens of colonized indigenous nations become internal ethnic minorities within the colonizing nation-state.15

In other words, Indigeneity is a political category rather than a racial one. Rifkin, writing on Afrofuturist and Indigenous futurist fiction, affirms Byrd when attending to conflations between Blackness and Indigeneity in the United States: “We might understand Black and Indigenous struggles less as incommensurable than as simply nonidentical, as having distinct kinds of orientation shaped by the effects of histories of enslavement and settler colonial occupation.” Te Punga Somerville points out that “most existing definitions of ‘Indigenous,’ wherever they may be, agree on a few things: connection to a particular place, an experience of colonialism, and ongoing disadvantage and discrimination.”16 These definitions offer useful guidelines, and, as the contributions to this special issue approach Blackness and ecologies in different ways, so too do they show that “Indigenous” is not a static concept.17

The contributions in this issue interpret Black and Indigenous ecologies variously. Henry Ivry posits an understanding of Black ecology that allows for the “co-constitutionality and vibrancy” of Blackness and ecology through listening beyond “the locked groove of anti-Black, settler-colonial, and climatic violence” to hear the possibilities of human and nonhuman relationalities. This act of listening is, according to Ivry, “another way of listening to Blackness,” one that looks to “alternate worlds and relations between human and nonhuman beings.” The soundscapes that are the objects of Ivry’s analysis start with Jana Rush’s Painful Enlightenment (2021), where he applies Anna Tsing’s conception of visual and textual “noticing” in The Mushroom at the End of the World to listening. Ivry proceeds to Black Nationalist Weaponry (2020), Richard Davis’s Methane Sea (1978), and Space Afrika’s hybtwibt? (2020) to make a Black ecology that emerges through the sonic that is simultaneously nascent and fugitive and concerned with the retooling of techno and dub to generate what Ivry calls “Anthropocene blues,” which we might hear in the “groove of a Black world to come.”

If Ivry approaches ecologies via the realm of sound, Justine Parkin approaches it via the oceanic, bringing together Black feminist and Indigenous Pacific modes of oceanic thinking. Ivry and Parkin both recur to Donna Haraway’s invocation to “stay with the trouble” as they navigate human and nonhuman modes of being in different ecological contexts. Specifically, Parkin confronts anthropocentric discourses of crisis, asserting that “there is already a rubric for living and thinking with the ocean that places emphasis on how human and nonhuman life can ‘become-with’ each other in response to ecological degradation and the lived legacies of colonial pasts.” This rubric, Parkin states, does not compel us to accept the oceanifying of the planet but generates “hope” as we approach “oceanic futures.” She does not want to conflate different modes of thinking with the ocean but wants to bring particular grammars of kinship thinking together as one way of decentering the human when we think about the oceans rising. Parkin, who reminds us that troubling the binary between land and sea is the norm for Indigenous peoples from the Pacific, illustrates how two ostensibly land-centric foods from Oceania, kalo (taro) from Hawai‘i and kūmara from Aotearoa New Zealand, foreground the centrality of story and the poetic in constructing knowledge of the ocean and our relationships to it. Parkin then analyzes writer Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s poetic experimentations that “make kin” with marine mammals and coral, alongside Nadia Huggins’s photography that blur the boundaries between human body and coral and sea sponges. These methods of making kin with the ocean, and of interrogating and disrupting the binaries of land and sea, upend hegemonic paradigms of thinking with and, as Parkin says, living with the ocean.

Ivana Ancic’s article is also invested in the ways that Indigenous poetics, as part of Indigenous knowledge systems, upend human/nonhuman binaries and critique the colonial archive. Ancic’s analysis centers on the Zimbabwean novelist Yvonne Vera’s Stone Virgins (2002), which, Ancic argues, demonstrates that literature can illuminate how Black and Indigenous knowledge is not always legible according to settler and (post)colonial archives. Focusing on the Matobo Hills in Zimbabwe, Ancic argues that Vera’s close and extensive focus on this site functions as “an important element of recovery of archival silences.” The knowledge the archive produces is anti-Black and anti-Indigenous and is always already colonial. Challenging the kind of knowledge produced by the archive, Ancic contends that Vera portrays land as a speaking subject in The Stone Virgins, one shaped by distinct and at times competing interpretations. Ancic shows how storytelling enables this speaking, addressing gaps and exclusions in archives but also gesturing to sites of knowledge that exist outside the archive’s configuration of memory and nation building. Ancic’s article explicitly points out that “the notion of Indigeneity in Africa still carries the burden of colonial definitions of race and otherness, cultural authenticity, and physiology, which were often used by settler regimes, particularly across southern Africa, to reify ethnic divisions and sanction hierarchies.” In the same way as Te Punga Somerville does, Ancic articulates the political valences of Indigeneity, reminding us that Indigeneity isn’t simply about peoples being “first” in a particular location, or about false concepts of “authenticity.” Instead, it’s useful to approach the term understanding who calls themselves Indigenous and whom other Indigenous peoples recognize as Indigenous. In Ancic’s use, this concept remains place based and concerns peoples’ systems of thought and relationships to their specific ecologies. In this analysis, Vera’s novel refuses colonial archival understandings of Indigenous knowledge and ways of being and posits another way of making legible Indigenous systems of thought.

Whereas Vera’s novel rejects settler-colonial concepts of land and archive by focusing on Indigenous women’s persistence in precarious and untenable situations, Ethan Madarieta’s article illustrates how the settler-colonial construct of land performs a substitutive gesture in which the settler becomes native and renders enslaved people and their labor as always already in service of the colonial project. Using the story of Juan Valiente, an enslaved man who bargained with his master to join the conquistadors to make money to pay for his manumission, Madarieta argues that we might understand the operation by which “the Indigenous body is substituted for land and Blacks become deontologized labor for territorial possession . . . a prosthesis of colonial inhabitation.” Valiente’s participation in the genocide of the Mapuche (Indigenous peoples in what is now Chile and Argentina), and the subsequent theft of his manumission, reveals, according to Madarieta, the complicated nature of “land possession for Afrodescendientes, and Black and Indigenous relations in Chile.” To illustrate these fractures, Madarieta draws on David Eng’s “colonial object relations” and María Fernanda Libro’s “metonymic operation” to assert that these function in settler logic to substitute the settler for the native while rendering Black people and their labor as always already in the service of “the expansion of settler occupation and inhabitation.” This expansion must be disrupted through attention to Indigenous cosmology. Drawing on Mapuche cosmology, Madarieta interrogates how Indigenous cosmology “demolish[es] the settler-colonial land and body logics” that continue to structure violence on people and the ecology.

While Madarieta’s article is focused on the discursive formation of land as property that invents a logic that dispossesses Indigenous people and reduces enslaved to their labor, Zhou Hau Liew observes that Chang Kuei-hsing’s 1998 novel Elephant Herd “offers a tracing of ecological inheritances that precedes the Cold War.” Liew’s article reinvigorates the struggle over archives by pointing to the counternarratives written by leftist insurgents who pursued a guerrilla-style movement that ended in 1990. For settler Chinese, the environment of Borneo is their own “heart of darkness,” and the forest is central to the novel’s story. The Sinophone civilizational mapping of Borneo ends up being a “failed mapping,” as the ecology not only transforms the identity of the novel’s Sinophone protagonist but also centers an Indigenous Iban remapping beyond British, Malay, and Sinophone logics even as it is haunted by colonialist state making. Liew’s article compels reading the Sarawak revolution as distinct from the Chinese revolution, shaped by Borneo’s ecologies and relationships to place and ultimately understanding Borneo beyond a nation-state formation.

The land again takes center stage in Giovanna Montenegro’s article on protest mapping and ecology in Suriname. Montenegro documents how Indigenous and maroon peoples in Suriname, specifically the Saamaka, resist extractivist industry through a process called “Indigitization.” In Montenegro’s analysis, “Maroon and Indigenous peoples in Suriname are claiming their land rights from the Surinamese state through participatory mapping, storytelling, and cultural activities in a manner that emphasizes their communities’ sustainable development.” Montenegro reminds us that colonial forms of mapping, like settler modes of literacy, can dispossess Indigenous peoples. Indigitization, a term coined by Mark Palmer and Cadey Korson, refers to mapping that centers Indigenous knowledge systems.18 This study brings together alphabetic and oral literatures, mapping, and interviews to tell a story of Saamaka self-determination despite intense extractivist forces.

This special issue concludes with an article by the CHamoru and African American scholar and artist Ojeya Cruz Banks, who, by confronting how Guåhan (Guam) is typically portrayed in imperial narratives, departs from analytic modes often foregrounded in academic discussions. Cruz Banks describes her article as a Black Pacific dance memoir, presenting oral family histories alongside descriptions of dance that she uses to navigate these histories and her relationship with the land of Guåhan. As Cruz Banks puts it, “I see this memoir as an intervention to remedy the erasure of my grandfather in my Chamoru genealogy—which I believe is symptomatic of family secrets and Black racism on the island.” This kind of intervention allows Cruz Banks to articulate how diaspora and Indigenous worlds don’t exist in a binary formation. Colonial discourses and processes insist on this binary, but by disrupting it, Cruz Banks instead centers “shared destinies of Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty.”

Form and content are entangled in Cruz Banks’s approach. As Montenegro points out in her own article, hierarchies of alphabetic literacy privilege colonial and Eurocentric systems of knowledge and power. So too do academic forms that perform “objectivity” and separate the “creative” from the “critical.” By insisting that the creative is indeed critical, that the creative enacts theory, Cruz Banks follows in the footsteps of numerous Indigenous and Black scholars and creators who challenge such generic divisions. This article may look different from a “traditional” academic article, but its place in this special issue highlights that expanding Black and Indigenous ecologies means attending to form, genre, archive, and other systems of organizing and prioritizing knowledge that go well beyond content alone. That is, the “doing” of knowledge making needs rigorous attention, too.

As we leave you with these articles, we conclude this introduction with a gesture to the cover art for this special issue, by the Papua Niugini and Australian artist and curator Lisa Hilli. This cover art is an excerpt from Hilli’s collection Birds of a Feather 2022, which

celebrates the resilience of Papua New Guinean women through the story of Dame Meg Taylor, the first woman from Papua New Guinea [PNG] to receive a degree from the University of Melbourne Law School and most recently Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General. Composed of images of the feathers of PNG’s national bird, “kumul” (birds of paradise), the artwork honours a significant figure who continues to inspire and empower women to navigate their role in contemporary PNG society.19

Hilli’s art illuminates empowering stories of Melanesian women, and this particular installation is accompanied by the calls of the birds of paradise.

One of the numerous gaps in this special issue is that none of the articles foregrounds Melanesian perspectives. Scholars such as Teaiwa assert that “the first people to settle the Pacific were black,” and scholars such as Maile Arvin have documented how European colonialists divided the Pacific (Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian) in ways that enacted a “project” that privileged people according to their “proximity to whiteness” while erasing Black Oceania.20 In fact, many perspectives are not included in this special issue. One way we wanted to signal those gaps is by highlighting a Melanesian perspective in the cover art. In a video for the Collective Unease exhibition at the University of Melbourne’s Ian Potter Museum of Art, Hilli states that it is important that her work highlights absence, and that is what led her to Dame Meg Taylor. In the same video Hilli points out that, like the scholars in this special issue, she is invested in what is overlooked in archives and the different perspectives that one can pull out of archives. Hilli’s work not only articulates particular absences in colonial historical narratives but also offers us, in this issue, space to acknowledge absences. Hilli’s exhibition reasserts Niugini perspectives in spaces where, as she highlights, people who are not from Niugini have taken and used materials and stories for their own ends. Her art documents the critical importance of Black and Indigenous peoples representing themselves and their own ecologies and speaking their own stories.

One special issue is inherently limited. There is so much more to say, for us and for others. We hope that the issue provides readers with new possibilities for thinking about Black and Indigenous ecologies, but also with new ways to address and grapple with what the issue has left out. Let’s keep having conversations about this important but still-understudied subject. We, the special issue editors, want to see what is next.

Notes

2

Here we draw on Cajetan Iheka’s three manifestations of what he terms “naturalizing Africa.” The first emerged in colonial writings that sought to center the natural environment to erase African peoples. The second was the imposition of colonial modernity and the subsequent “civilizing” of the continent and its environments. The third was the distancing of Africans from their natural environments even as they became invested in transforming it in the postcolonial era and beyond. See Iheka, Naturalizing Africa. For a closer examination of how Black and Indigenous concerns are excised from the larger conversation on ecologies, see Hare, “Black Ecology”; Piper, “Ecology”; Guha and Martinez-Alier, Varies of Environmentalism; Karera, “Blackness and the Pitfalls of Anthropocene Ethics”; Vergès, “Racial Capitalocene”; Yusoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None; Smith, African American Environmental Thought; and Otu, “When the Lagoons Remember.” 

4

For a thorough analysis of the limits of solidarity politics across oppressed groups, see Olwan, “On Assumptive Solidarities in Comparative Settler Colonialisms.” 

13

Te Punga Somerville, “Are Māori Indigenous?” For navigating the terms of Indigeneity, see Kauanui, Hawaiian Blood; and O’Brien, Firsting and Lasting. For further starting points when thinking through different valences of the terms of Indigeneity in Oceanic contexts, see Te Punga Somerville, Once Were Pacific; and Aikau et al., “Indigenous Feminisms Roundtable.” 

17

Likewise, but writing from an Australian context, Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Quandamooka) examines Blackness alongside Indigeneity via the lens of property, stating that “blackness functions as a white epistemological tool servicing the social construction of whiteness in its multiple and possessive forms, displacing Indigenous sovereignties and rendering them through a civil rights discourse” (White Possessive, xxi).

19

The art was commissioned by the Potter Foundation, University of Melbourne, for the Collective Unease exhibition, curated by Samantha Comte and Jacqueline Doughty and staged at the Ian Potter Museum of Art from September 26, 2022, to June 3, 2023. “Accompanied by the calls of the birds of paradise, Hilli embeds Taylor’s voice into a series of digital prints that weave through the cloisters of Old Quad [at the University of Melbourne], culminating in a major fabric installation in Treasury Gallery” (Ian Potter Museum of Art, “The University of Melbourne Announces New Exhibition”).

Works Cited

Aikau, Hokulani K., Arvin, Maile, Goeman, Mishuana, and Morgensen, Scott. “
Indigenous Feminisms Roundtable
.”
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies
36
, no.
3
(
2015
):
84
106
.
Arvin, Maile.
Possessing Polynesians: The Science of Settler Colonial Whiteness in Hawai‘i and Oceania
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2019
.
Byrd, Jodi A.
The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism
.
Minneapolis
:
University of Minnesota Press
,
2011
.
Case, Emalani.
Everything Ancient Was Once New: Indigenous Persistence from Hawai‘i to Kahiki
.
Honolulu
:
University of Hawai‘i Press
,
2021
.
Dungy, Camille T.
Introduction: The Nature of African American Poetry
.” In
Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry
, edited by Dungy, Camille T., xix–xxxv.
Athens
:
University of Georgia Press
,
2009
.
Enomoto, Joy. “
Black Is the Color of Solidarity: Art as Resistance in Melanesia
.”
Postmodern Culture
31
, no.
1
(
2020
). https://doi.org/10.1353/pmc.2020.0027.
Ferdinand, Malcom.
Decolonial Ecology: Thinking from the Caribbean World
.
Cambridge
:
Polity
,
2022
.
Foster, John Bellamy. “
‘Let Them Eat Pollution’: Capitalism and the World Environment
.”
Monthly Review
44
, no.
8
(
1992
):
10
20
.
Frazier, Chelsea Mikael. “
Black Feminist Ecological Thought: A Manifesto
.”
Atmos
,
October
1
,
2020
. https://atmos.earth/black-feminist-ecological-thought-essay/.
Ghazoul, Jaboury.
Ecology: A Very Short Introduction
.
Oxford
:
Oxford University Press
,
2020
.
Guha, Ramachandra, and Martinez-Alier, Juan.
Varieties of Environmentalism: Essays North and South
.
London
:
Earthscan
,
2017
.
Hare, Nathan. “
Black Ecology
.”
Black Scholar
1
, no.
6
(
1970
):
2
8
.
Ian Potter Museum of Art
. “
The University of Melbourne Announces New Exhibition: Collective Unease
.” Press release,
August
21
,
2022
. https://art-museum.unimelb.edu.au/resources/media-release/the-university-of-melbourne-announces-new-exhibition-collective-unease/.
Iheka, Cajetan Nwabueze.
Naturalizing Africa: Ecological Violence, Agency, and Postcolonial Literature
.
New York
:
Cambridge University Press
,
2017
.
Kabutaulaka, Tarcisius. “
Re-presenting Melanesia: Ignoble Savages and Melanesian Alter-natives
.”
Contemporary Pacific
27
, no.
1
(
2015
):
110
45
.
Karera, Axelle. “
Blackness and the Pitfalls of Anthropocene Ethics
.”
Critical Philosophy of Race
7
, no.
1
(
2019
):
32
56
.
Kauanui, J. Kēhaulani.
Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2008
.
King, Tiffany Lethabo.
The Black Shoals: Offshore Formations of Black and Native Studies
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2019
.
Moreton-Robinson, Aileen.
The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty
.
Minneapolis
:
University of Minnesota Press
,
2015
.
O’Brien, Jean M.
Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England
.
Minneapolis
:
University of Minnesota Press
,
2010
.
Olwan, Dana M.
On Assumptive Solidarities in Comparative Settler Colonialism
.”
Feral Feminisms
, no.
4
(
2015
):
89
102
.
Otu, Kwame Edwin. “
When the Lagoons Remember: An Afroqueer Futurist Reading of ‘Blue Ecologies of Agitation.’
Feminist Africa
2
, no.
2
(
2021
):
29
46
.
Palmer, Mark, and Korson, Cadey. “
Decolonizing World Heritage Maps Using Indigenous Toponyms, Stories, and Interpretive Attributes
.”
Cartographica
55
, no.
3
(
2020
):
183
92
.
Perez, Craig Santos. “
Black Lives Matter in the Pacific
.”
Ethnic Studies Review
43
, no.
3
(
2020
):
34
38
.
Piper, AugustJr.
Ecology: An Issue for Third World People?
Black Scholar
6
, no.
8
(
1975
):
23
31
.
Qolouvaki, Tagi. “
Dreaming Black Love
.”
Ke Kaʻupu Hehi ʻAle
,
August
10
,
2015
. https://hehiale.com/2015/08/10/dreaming-black-love/.
Rifkin, Mark.
Fictions of Land and Flesh: Blackness, Indigeneity, Speculation
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2019
.
Roane, J. T.
Plotting the Black Commons
.”
Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society
18
, no.
3
(
2018
):
239
66
.
Ruffin, Kimberly N.
Black on Earth: African American Ecoliterary Traditions
.
Athens
:
University of Georgia Press
,
2010
.
Shilliam, Robbie.
The Black Pacific: Anticolonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections
.
London
:
Bloomsbury
,
2015
.
Smith, Kimberly K.
African American Environmental Thought: Foundations
.
Lawrence
:
University Press of Kansas
,
2007
.
Swan, Quito.
Pasifika Black: Oceania, Anti-colonialism, and the African World
.
New York
:
New York University Press
,
2022
.
Swan, Quito.
Pauulu’s Diaspora: Black Internationalism and Environmental Justice
.
Gainesville
:
University of Florida Press
,
2022
.
Teaiwa, Teresia. “
Black and Blue in the Pacific: Afro-Diasporic Women Artists on History and Blackness
.”
Amerasia Journal
43
, no.
1
(
2017
):
145
46
.
Teaiwa, Teresia. “
Mela/Nesian Histories, Micro/Nesian Poetics
.”
Amerasia Journal
43
, no.
1
(
2017
):
169
78
.
Te Punga Somerville, Alice. “
Are Māori Indigenous? That’s Not the Real Question
.”
E-Tangata
,
October
8
,
2023
. https://e-tangata.co.nz/comment-and-analysis/are-maori-indigenous-thats-not-the-real-question/.
Te Punga Somerville, Alice.
Once Were Pacific: Māori Connections to Oceania
.
Minneapolis
:
University of Minnesota Press
,
2012
.
Vergès, Françoise, “
Racial Capitalocene
.” In
Futures of Black Radicalism
, edited by Johnson, Gaye Theresa and Lubin, Alex,
72
82
.
London
:
Verso
,
2017
.
Wynter, Sylvia. “
1492: A New World View
.” In
Race, Discourse, and the Origin of the Americas: A New World View
, edited by Hyatt, Vera Lawrence and Nettleford, Rex M.,
5
57
.
Washington, DC
:
Smithsonian Institution Press
,
1995
.
Yusoff, Kathryn.
A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None
.
Minneapolis
:
University of Minnesota Press
,
2018
.
This content is made freely available by the publisher. It may not be redistributed or altered. All rights reserved.