Theorizing Indigenous Student Resistance, Radical Resurgence, and Reclaiming Spiritual Teachings about Tma’áakni (Respect)
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Indigenous dispossession and environmental devastation are intertwined outcomes of settler colonialism’s cycle of violence. However, indigenous people continue to draw from cultural and spiritual teachings to resist such forms of violence, and engage in what Leanne Simpson calls “radical resurgence.” Our paper analyzes the Yakama elders’ teachings about Tma’áakni (Respect), to examine principles and forms of indigenous resistance and resurgence, demonstrated by indigenous students in support of the NoDAPL(No Dakota Access PipeLine) movement. Elders’ teachings, which are rooted in spiritual traditions held by indigenous peoples since time immemorial, are useful for understanding and articulating the importance of the contemporary indigenous student activism. We assert that indigenous people, drawing from intergenerational forms of teaching and learning, provide systemic alternatives that can simultaneously protect the sacred, and heal social and ecological devastations by reclaiming indigenous cultural teachings and traditions that resist settler colonial paradigms.