Journal of Global Ethics 14 (2):266-276 (2018)

Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner
Michigan State University
ABSTRACTIn Therapeutic Nations, Dian Million highlights the complicated role that neoliberal arenas like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and international dialogues concerning human rights play in the marginalization of Indigenous communities. Neoliberal arenas are empowered by sociopolitical imaginaries, or a metaphorical moral fabric of a given community, that consist in discursive content and affective, felt knowledge. According to Million, the sociopolitical imaginaries that give weight and context to negative stereotypes about Indigenous peoples are the same sociopolitical imaginaries that empower neoliberal arenas. In a sense, the proposed solutions are ‘cut from the same cloth’ as the causes of settler colonial violence. Million does not directly apply her argument to Indigenous language reclamation, but Million’s conceptions of sociopolitical imaginaries and paradoxically imposed neoliberal arenas are useful for framing a discussion of the potential harms in some Indigenous language reclamation projects, specifically, revitalization programming described by UNESCO and those pursued by U.S. research universities. I aim to show that some of these proposed solutions to Indigenous language loss are cut from the very same cloth, justified by the same sociopolitical imaginaries, as attempted linguicide itself.
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DOI 10.1080/17449626.2018.1516691
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