Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Adams-Campbell, Melissa

Second Advisor

Balcerzak, Scott

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of English


This dissertation examines Indigenous cinematic cultures in the United States and Canada since 1998 in the context of international reconciliation movements between settler and Indigenous states. This project examines the contested intersections of twenty-first century Indigenism and multiculturalism, exploring the ways in which Native voices in media navigate international cultural marketplaces. I focus on Georgina Lightning’s Older than America, Igloolik Isuma’s Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, Sherman Alexie and Chris Eyre’s Smoke Signals, and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ A Red Girl’s Reasoning. Specifically, I am concerned with Indigenous cinemas and media that envision and enact models of reconciliation, healing, and social justice using cultural and epistemological tools that originate from Native peoples. In this way, my work engages with rapidly developing scholarship on Indigenous methodologies in research and communication as well as Indigenous movements in a variety of cultural and sociological discourses including semiotic and cognitive theories of cinematic meaning-making, gender and sexuality studies, trauma studies, and jurisprudence. I reconsider Euro-Western notions of reconciliation according to holistic and relational Indigenous epistemologies. Throughout, I study the ways Native artists envision social justice, healing, and redress in answer to ongoing reconciliatory dialogues concerning land appropriation, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, residential schools, and other pressing issues.


186 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type