Representing indigenous lifeways and beliefs in U.S.-Mexico border indigenous activist discourse

Semiotica 2018 (224):223-248 (2018)

Despite challenges for U.S.-Mexico border Indigenous activists in their efforts to counter dominant discourses about both border policy and Native rights, Indigenous activists assert their rights as they advocate for public policies and actions that affirm and protect these rights. This article explores some of the discursive strategies used by Indigenous activists to index Indigenous identities and lifeways and to counter mainstream conceptualizations of Native identity and Indigenous rights on the U.S.-Mexico border. Through such semiotic strategies, Indigenous border activists create indigenized and legitimized political spaces for the assertion of their beliefs. Indigenous border activists achieve this through metasemiotic constructs that draw from stereotypes about Native people and their use of language as well as through the active mobilization of schemas for conceptualizing both Native American experiences and the U.S.-Mexico border.
Keywords Indigenous activism, U.S.-Mexico border  metasemiotic constructs  performativity  polysemy  schemas
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DOI 10.1515/sem-2016-0205
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