Unsettling the Politics of Belonging through Narratives of Radical Diversity and Indigenous Storywork

This is part of our special feature, The Politics of Postmigration.


At the beginning of her research on postmigrant societies in Germany as a country of immigration, social studies scholar Naika Foroutan stressed that we ought to “narrate the very same history [of migration and belonging] differently, to look at it from a different perspective, and to narrate it with different words” (Foroutan and Huneke 2013, 45, my translation). This statement has not only called for a paradigm shift in the politics of migration but also aimed toward a new narrative turn in migration studies. The idea of narrating a different perspective places migration at the center rather than at the periphery of Germany as a plural society. Alternatively, in the words of literary studies scholar Richard Bromley and within the context of the United Kingdom, “The postmigrant is not, of course, a foreigner but someone whose narratives present a new angle of vision, undo certainties, and re-draw the map of places and paths through another way of looking” (2017, 41). As ethnologist Regina Römhild pointed out, the general call here is, from a wider European perspective, that we do not need “more research about migration, but a migration-based perspective to generate new insights into the contested arenas of ‘society’ and ‘culture’” (2017, 70).

African-American literary and cultural studies scholar Fatima El-Tayeb (2011) even went one step further in her criticism. She argued that “post-migration” might only serve to stabilize political hegemony and its derogatory implications. When postmigration is promoted as a new mainstream discourse that does not radicalize society, it cannot adequately address racial inequalities. Furthermore, colonial structures are reproduced in academia when scholars theorize refugees, immigrants, and Indigenous peoples rather than seeking practical methods of “demigrantizising” migration studies or “Indigenizing” and “decolonizing” colonial institutions—their own universities included.

Going forward, I therefore propose a methodological perspective in postmigration studies that takes a participant-centered approach into account and includes manifold, subjective, and intersectional narratives of belonging (Yuval-Davis 2011). Such a method creates hybridity without essentializing ethnicity and provides an understanding of belonging not simply from an anthropocentric and territorial point of view (Malkki 1992). Most importantly, this approach assumes a placed-based belonging in the sense of a continuous and reciprocal relationship building that relates oneself as concretely as holistically to places and beings, creating a situation of “grounded normativity” (Coulthard and Simpson 2016, 254). This new perspective also entails a positive outlook onto conviviality in that it allows for the seeing of migratory patterns as a normal way of being connected and of living interconnected with many places. This way of relating to each other allows us to embrace changes and transformations toward a more common sustainability based on an ethics of care. I could call this perspective, which goes beyond the binaries of Indigenous and colonial ways of belonging, “postmigratory.” However, any postmigrant condition or postmigratory position is also a reminder of the negative status quo of displacement and immobility, whether Indigenous peoples’ displacement occurs within their own lands and whether migrants’ immobility is due to their undeclared refugee status. Last but not least, the ongoing history of colonialism and our own entanglement in it as settler scholars makes us easily forget that today’s migratory flows and displacements cannot be separated from colonialism and its consequences (De Genova 2016).

Who then would be a postmigrant here in Vancouver, on Xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sk ̄wx̱wu ́7mesh (Squamish), and Səl ́̓ılwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories, where I live and have worked as a settler scholar since 2003? Although I am an immigrant, any Indigenous person living here certainly has a greater pre- and post-migrant experience than I do. Indeed, Indigenous people in Vancouver have been there since time immemorial and been forcibly displaced within their own lands since colonial impact. A politics of postmigration thus becomes much more complicated when migration—through forced settlement—is intrinsically bound to settler colonialism (Ellermann and O’Heran 2021). As Tuck and Yang clarified, “settlers are not immigrants” (2012, 6). Yet, immigrants are naturalized through Canadian settlement programs that ignore the fact that the true hosts and keepers of the land are Indigenous peoples. What is at stake is therefore a perspective that no longer places both Indigenous peoples and immigrants within colonial settlement politics as minority groups that need to be integrated and assimilated, but rather envisages them as equally active and self-determined participants in a different way of living together on the same land. In other words, if settlers were to define themselves as “uninvited guests” on Indigenous lands,[1] a new narrative of responsible belonging could possibly follow an Indigenous ecological “law of the land” (Ladner 2018, 251). While this reciprocal approach addresses a need for rethinking and undoing hegemonic structures of belonging in what is called “Canada,” it further implicates that Eurocentric notions of belonging, settlement, and land ownership, as well as the inherent constructions of cultural identity and diversity as part of these notions, need to be questioned.[2] This approach would call for the need to re-define society and culture not only from a migrant-based but also Indigenous perspective. This is where the politics of postmigration, which has remained European-focused, can learn from Indigenous peoples in so-called Canada.

The political call for more immigration promotes a move toward an open, super-diverse, and plural society, whether that immigration is driven by economic pull factors or by existential push factors. The perspectives of postmigrantism, conviviality, and multiculturality have been helpful and necessary to diversify the understandings of Europe and Canada within their ongoing colonial histories. However, the main question is whether these perspectives grant equal social and physical mobility to forced migrants (Gibney 2004) or currently allow for a redefinition of the nation-state enabling First Nations to self-govern. Hence, the concept of postmigration, as useful as it is in addressing questions of belonging within Europe, should not limit itself to an understanding of postcolonial societies in European terms (and based on European history). For postmigration, as a concept, to become part of a community-oriented politics of belonging that is not Eurocentric, it has to be practically decolonized and allow for an approach that entails justice from an Indigenous point of view and no longer takes “decolonization as metaphor” (Tuck and Yang 2012). As Cree writer Billy-Ray Belcourt (2015) radically pointed out, “decolonization can only be reified through a totalizing disruption of those power apparatuses (i.e., settler colonialism, anthropocentrism, white supremacy, and neoliberal pluralism) that lend the settler state sovereignty, normalcy, and futurity” (1). However, how can an Indigenous author like Belcourt (2020) rebel and become “free from the rhetorical trickery of colonizers everywhere,” as he writes in A History of My Brief Body (10)? This question is especially pertinent for him since he has been continuously educated to write, teach, and conduct research in English. Additionally, how can an Indigenous artist such as Joi Arcand escape the colonial ritual of naming when criticizing the European tradition of violently occupying places, as she does in her Here on Future Earth photo series from 2009, where she reattaches Cree names to colonial buildings (Belcourt 2017)? How can we actually “undo the certainties of place, and thereby re-awaken the power present in each of us” to avoid “becom[ing] a foreigner on the map of places and paths generally known as reality” (Bromley 2017, 41)? Or, in short, is it even legitimate to place migration at the core of society, given the entanglement of migration with an ongoing violent history of colonization?


Indigenous storywork as an ethical way of caring and sharing

Let me address the politics of postmigration from an ethical perspective that originates outside Europe. While living and working as a privileged white settler on the traditional, unceded (stolen) territories of the Xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sk ̄wx̱wu ́7mesh (Squamish), and Səl ́̓ılwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations in what is called Vancouver, Canada, I reflect upon my own role as a researcher and settler scholar from Europe who only recently has become engaged in local, Coast Salish peoples’ Indigenous ways of sharing knowledge through storywork (Archibald 2008; Archibald et al. 2019). From the perspective of Indigenous storytelling as a creative basis for connecting with land and people differently through the building of relations,[3] I am inclined to first amend Foroutan’s statement: yes, we need to narrate the very same history of colonialism (belonging, citizenship, land ownership, etc.) differently; we indeed must look at this history from a different perspective and narrate it using different words. However, we can only do so as researchers, settlers, and immigrants by using an Indigenous-centered approach that stresses and rebuilds the relationships, agency, and life that have been continuously destroyed not only by colonial assimilation and integration politics but also because we have assumed an anthropocentric and Eurocentric way of belonging, owning, settling, and migrating.

Whether people are marginalized as Indigenous or asylum seekers, their stories of displacement matter equally; however, these stories would matter even more if they were also considered to unsettle, disrupt, and fundamentally change current immigration policies that are still based on colonial forms of settlement. Becoming what Jo-ann Archibald et al. (2019) call “story-ready” is particularly necessary when researching Indigenous stories not as simple expressions of marginalization but also as important voices that carry different traditions of relating to land and people. For the researcher, to be story-ready means that during the “research process the researcher must listen to Indigenous Peoples’ stories with respect, develop story relationships, strengthen storied impact through reciprocity” (Archibald et al. 2019, 2). Through her Indigenous-centered approach to research and teaching, Archibald brings about the four Rs that Verna Kirkness and Ray Barnhardt (1991) outlined as necessary attitudes for engaging with Indigenous peoples, their ways of being, and their knowledge traditions: respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility. Archibald (2008), who has learned from Stó:lō and other Coast Salish elders,[4] also adds “reverence, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy” to her “theoretical framework for making meaning from stories and for using them in educational contexts” (ix).

Thus, at my own institution, only where Indigenous storywork is used as a general ethical framework for sharing and advancing knowledge, it adds a new layer to how people there understand research, responsible knowledge transfer, and effective student- and Indigenous-centered teaching.[5] This framework has put me in relation not only with Indigenous peoples but with everyone and everything, including with land, plants, and animals: “Meaning then is derived not through content or data, or even theory in a western context, which by nature is decontextualized knowledge, but through a compassionate web of interdependent relationships that are different and valuable because of that difference” (Simpson 2014, 11). This different approach also entails that instead of owning land and stories, we responsibly care for them. This kind of embodied place-based knowledge system evolves from an oral, matriarchal system rather than from a textual, patriarchal, and traditional way of sharing experiences. Indigenous storywork begins with stories of creation that bring humans together with animals and spirits rather than establishing a hierarchy in which humans are antagonists to nature and men supersede women (King 2003). Such storywork strives to overcome modernity, not by looking back at nature, but by looking forward to acknowledge cultures and cultural identities in the plural, rather than in the singular; indeed, storywork recognizes the many ways of being and belonging and of sharing knowledge and experiences in a reciprocal way. This modern day Indigenous holistic approach is methodologically based on living culture “across space and time” (Starblanket and Kitwetinepinesiik Stark 2018, 199) and on performing society as something that is always in the making and thus in need of re-establishing responsible relationships. Moreover, this approach could help us find a sustainable counter-narrative to the human-nature dichotomies inscribed in Western anthropocentric, ethnographic, and colonial approaches to migrating, belonging, discovering, and exploring—dichotomies that are still at the core of the academic knowledge industry.

As a European settler scholar, I would like to learn more—without appropriation—from such reciprocal perspective, which goes beyond binary politics of belonging and multiplies our connections in the way we are related to and dependent on earth. Such a perspective teaches us in a wide-reaching ethical way the uttermost important responsibility to take care of the land (as earth) and of each other (in a way that includes all beings). This perspective breaks down the Western-centric discourses on diversity and belonging, and thus advances a reciprocal relationship building.


Narratives of radical diversity, de-integration, and disrupting

As part of a lecture series on “Indigenous Presence and Representation in European Studies” that I co-organized with my colleague Elizabeth Nijdam, and which took place virtually at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2021/22,[6] I invited Riel Dupuis-Rossi, a  Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk)-Algonquin healthcare social worker and co-author of a booklet on “Disrupting Current Colonial Practices and Structures in the Immigration and Non-Profit Sector” (Dupuis-Rossi et al. 2020)[7] for a panel discussion on “Radical Diversity.”[8] During the webinar, Dupuis-Rossi shared experiences with writers Max Czollek and Mohamed Amjahid, both from Germany, whose concepts of “radical diversity” (Czollek et al. 2017), “de-integration” (Czollek 2023a), and anti-racist education seem to parallel recent local Indigenous efforts in practical decolonization. For a second webinar with Czollek and Amjahid,[9] I also invited LGTBQ+ activist Kristi Pinderi, a landed immigrant from Albania, as well as filmmaker Jules Koostachin, a InNiNew IsKwew (Swampy Cree woman) and band member of Attawapiskat First Nation. All panelists engaged with questions about unsettling the politics of belonging while living in liberal nation-states and immigration societies that perpetuate core political narratives of hegemony, either through the discourse of integration and assimilation—as in Leitkultur (guiding culture) in Germany—or through the constitutionally embedded concept of multiculturality—as in Canada, a settler state.

The panelists’ provocative questions aimed to share stories differently:

  • How can a Jewish author “de-integrate” German society (Czollek 2023a) and thus avoid playing a role in the “theater of reconciliation” within German memory politics (Czollek 2023b)?
  • How can a journalist of color avoid constantly being asked to represent diversity and play the role of an activist (Amjahid 2021)?
  • How can one get away from permanently being labeled as “refugee” while being nominated as a finalist for the 13th annual Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards, as in the case of Pinderi?[10]
  • How can we disrupt the violent colonialism ongoing in Canada?


Indeed, in the words of the booklet’s co-author Vikki Reynolds, “You do not ‘reconcile’ genocide. You stop it” (Dupuis-Rossi et al. 2020, 5). In the panel discussions, my aim in bringing these voices and stories together was not to flatten similar political calls coming from different cultural backgrounds. Instead, I was interested in presenting similarities and differences across their queer narratives[11] (in the widest sense) of self-governance, self-determination, and self-precarity. I no longer wanted to “investigate” their stories but rather sought to listen to them and learn how to radically deconstruct my own Eurocentric and anthropocentric narratives of belonging. Finally, I strongly believed that I had to first actively unsettle my very own privileged politics of belonging and disrupt my entanglement in an ongoing colonialism before being able to fully understand and support the panelists’ narratives and stories of “radical diversity” and “unsettling.”


Politics of postmigration

What then, from this practical perspective, would a politics of postmigration entail? What is already difficult to answer from within Europe becomes even more complicated from outside Europe, from places in which people are still personally, adversely, and even fatally affected by colonial ways of living, acting, thinking, researching stories, and producing knowledge. There is no belonging without a politics of belonging, as migration studies scholar Nira Yuval-Davis (2011) stresses in her intersectional approach. Affinity with a place or people is not given but based on ongoing negotiations and relationship building. Feelings of connectedness stem from societal spaces that allow for equal positioning of and active and self-determined participation by all members of a society. Furthermore, as john powell and Stephen Menedian point out, we must allow for the meaningful voices of minorities to be heard and enable a participatory dialogue to provide an alternative to the acculturative strategies of assimilation, integration, separation, and marginalization (2017, 10 and 33). Society then becomes a flexible communal space that is no longer pre-determined by a dominant group creating insiders and outsiders. However, questions arise about how to make it possible for such non-hierarchical placements and equal positionings to arise. Indeed, how can integration function without assimilation? Moreover, how can narratives of unsettling (Manuel and Derrickson 2015; McCall and Hill 2015), migration (Gómez-Estern and de la Mata Benítez 2013), belonging (Lerman 2017), and non-belonging (Salzmann 2019) be woven together outside of a hegemonic concept of ownership that is literally embedded in the English and German languages through terminology such as “belonging” and Zugehörigkeit?

More emphasis must be laid on the fact that the interaction of people and the land (earth) entails “grounded normativity” rather than on defining belonging based on hegemonic ideas of ownership and capitalist accumulation (Coulthard and Simpson 2016, 254). Hence, an ethically sound politics of postmigration cannot be established simply through another European conceptualization of diversity and social justice, whether through neoliberalism or a liberal “new middle class.” There will be no solution to the dilemma of European societies and cultures continuously marginalizing people on a local and global scale if these societies and cultures cannot undo their colonial politics of belonging, which can be summarized in a territorial understanding of place that includes concepts such as legal ownership and careless sedentarism, privileged access to resources, as well as citizenship and nationality as modes of exclusion.

I therefore suggest relationality as an ethical paradigmatic solution that is based on Indigenous storywork as a way of sharing knowledge and interacting with the land (earth) and people. This approach requires me, as a settler scholar involved in migration (and postmigration) studies, to become a listener and learner and to build reciprocal relationships with the colonized and the oppressed (Chilisa 2012, 245). Storytelling is a relational act that calls for responsible sharing and caring over the production and ownership of knowledge. There is an embedded performative aspect to sharing stories, as they can “take on their own life,” as Archibald remarks (2008, ix). Through the performative act of telling a story, relationships can be built and re-enacted. For documentary filmmaker Jules Koostachin, who works on contemporary self-representations of Indigenous peoples through ceremonial traditions based on her cultural upbringing as a member of the Cree people,[12] stories carry agency and life. For writer Max Czollek, storytelling is always a performance, as he mentioned during a Zoom webinar series on “Storytelling as Research: Unsettling the Cultural Politics of Diversity through Filmmaking” at UBC in 2021. We become the stories we tell ourselves, as comedian Ryan McMahon reminded the audience at the same event.[13] For McMahon, a member of the Anishinaabe people, storytelling, or dadibaajimoowin in debwewin, means speaking the truth and refers to an act of sharing one’s own experiences in good spirit.[14]

Hence, as a researcher, I cannot simply tell and share the stories and narratives of others. I do not own them; nor can I simply utilize them to advance my research. Instead, I must include my own experiences and stories about myself and the relationships I have built through the performative process of sharing stories. For me, this process means building reciprocal transdisciplinary relationships (Watchman et al., 2019) and asking which relations are built through each story and through my telling it. Has the story been told in a respectful, relevant, reciprocal, and responsible way? Does it show reverence? The same criteria of accountability can be applied to the story I tell through, with, and in my research and teaching. I have to include my own story as researcher and settler scholar in literary studies. That story should not go beyond my experience. Moreover, I should know my story before telling others’ stories.[15] My story has been that of racial privilege embedded within colonial power structures; it includes a violent history of sharing texts and knowledge in an abstract way. This abstraction has made me forget that stories build relationships through the reciprocal sharing of embodied experiences and situated knowledge in different and multiple ways. In this sense, to me, a politics of postmigration only makes sense if it works against this kind of settler forgetting, which has been deeply engraved within European culture.[16]


Markus Hallensleben is Associate Professor at the Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies and Steering Committee Member at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Migration Studies, where he co-organizes a transdisciplinary research group on narratives of migration and belonging: https://migration.ubc.ca/research/research-groups/narratives/.



Amjahid, Mohamed. 2021. Der weiße Fleck: Eine Anleitung zu antirassistischem Denken. Munich: Piper Verlag.

Arcand, Joi T. 2009. “Here On Future Earth.” Photo Series. Accessed 18 April 2023, https://www.joitarcand.com/#/hereonfutureearth/.

Archibald, Jo-Ann Q’um Q’um Xiem. 2008. Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

—, Jenny Lee-Morgan, and Jason De Santolo, eds. 2019. Decolonizing Research: Indigenous Storywork as Methodology. London: Zed Books.

Belcourt, Billy-Ray. 2020. A History of my Brief Body, Penguin.

—. 2015. “Animal Bodies, Colonial Subjects: (Re)Locating Animality in Decolonial Thought.” Societies 5 (1): 1-11.

—. 2017. “The Optics of the Language: How Joi T. Arcand Looks with Words.” Canadian Art. Accessed 18 April 2023, https://canadianart.ca/features/optics-language-joi-t-arcand-looks-words.

Bromley, Roger. 2017. “A Bricolage of Identifications: Storying Postmigrant Belonging.” Journal of Aesthetics & Culture 9 (2): 36-44. https://doi.org/10.1080/20004214.2017.1347474.

Chilisa, Bagele. 2012. Indigenous Research Methodologies, Sage Publications.

Coulthard, Glen, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2016. “Grounded Normativity/Place-based Solidarity.” American Quarterly 68 (2): 249-255.

Cresswell, Tim. 2015. Place: An Introduction. Chichester, West Sussex; Malden: John Wiley & Sons.

Czollek, Max. 2023a. De-Integrate: A Jewish Survival Guide for the 21st Century. Translated by Jon Cho-Polizzi. New York: Restless Books.

—. 2023b. Versöhnungstheater. Munich: Hanser.

—, Corinne Kaszner, Leah Carola Czollek, and Gudrun Perko. 2017. “Radical Diversity and De-integration: Towards a Political and Artistic Project.” Red Thread 4. Accessed 18 April 2023, https://red-thread.org/en/radical-diversity-and-de-integration-towards-a-political-and-artistic-project.

De Genova, Nicholas. 2016. “The European Question: Migration, Race and Postcoloniality in Europe.” Social Text 34, no. 3 (128): 75-102.

Dupuis-Rossi, Riel, Charlene Hellson, and Vikki Reynolds. 2020. “Disrupting Current Colonial Practices and Structures in the Immigration and Non-Profit Sector.” Vancouver : AMSSA. Accessed 22 Jan. 2022, https://www.amssa.org/resource/amssa-booklet-disrupting-current-colonial-practices-and-structures-in-the-immigration-and-non-profit-sector/.

Ellermann, Antje, and Ben O’Heran. 2021. “Unsettling Migration Studies: Indigeneity and immigration in Settler Colonial States.” In Research Handbook on the Law and Politics of Migration, edited by Catherine Dauvergne. Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing. 21-34. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781789902266.00011.

El-Tayeb, Fatima. 2011. European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. https://musejhu-edu/book/24790.

Foroutan, Naika, and Dorte Huneke. 2013. “‘Wir brauchen neue Narrationen von einem pluralen Deutschland.’ Interview.” In Ziemlich deutsch. Betrachtungen aus dem Einwanderungsland Deutschland, edited by Dorte Huneke. Schriftenreihe, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, vol. 1386. 43-55. Accessed 18 April 2023, http://www.bpb.de/system/files/dokument_pdf/Dorte%20Huneke_Ziemlich_deutsch.pdf.

Gibney, Matthew J. 2004. The Ethics and Politics of Asylum: Liberal Democracy and the Response to Refugees. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511490248.

Gómez-Estern, Beatriz Macías, and Manuel L de la Mata Benítez. 2013. “Narratives of Migration: Emotions and the Interweaving of Personal and Cultural Identity through Narrative.” Culture & Psychology 19 (3): 348-368.

Hallensleben, Markus. 2022. “(Re)imagining a ‘Good Life’ as a Settler Scholar: How Can We Decolonize and Indigenize European Studies through Indigenous Storywork?” Polylogues at the Intersection(s) Series. Accessed 18 April 2023, https://convivialthinking.org/index.php/2022/10/01/polylogues-at-the-intersections-series-reimagining-a-good-life-as-a-settler-scholar-how-can-we-decolonize-and-indigenize-european-studies-through-indigenous-storywork/.

King, Thomas. 2003. The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative. Toronto: House of Anansi Press.

Kirkness, Verna J., and Ray Barnhardt. 1991. “First Nations and Higher Education: The Four R’s – Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, Responsibility.” The Journal of American Indian Education 30 (3): 1-15.

Ladner, Kiera. 2018. “Proceed with Caution: Reflection on Resurgence and Reconciliation.” In Resurgence and Reconciliation: Indigenous-Settler Relations and Earth Teachings, edited by Michael Asch, John Borrows and James Tully, 245-264. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Lerman, Antony, ed. 2017. Do I Belong? Reflections from Europe. London: Pluto Press.

Malkki, Liisa. 1992. National Geographic. The Rooting of Peoples and the Territorialization of National Identity among Scholars and Refugees. Cultural Anthropology 7 (1): 24-44. Accessed 18 Oct. 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/656519.

Manuel, Arthur, and Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson. 2015. Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call. Toronto: Between the Lines.

McCall, Sophie, and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, eds. 2015. The Land We Are: Artists & Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation. Winnipeg: ARP Books.

powell, john a., and Stephen Menendian. 2017. “The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging.” Othering and Belonging 1: 14-40. Accessed 18 April 2023, http://www.otheringandbelonging.org/the-problem-of-othering.

Römhild, Regina. 2017. “Beyond the Bounds of the Ethnic: for Postmigrant Cultural and Social Research.” Journal of Aesthetics & Culture 9 (2): 69-75. https://doi.org/10.1080/20004214.2017.1379850.

Salzmann, Marianna. 2019. Beside Myself. Translated by Imogen Taylor. New York: Other Press.

Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. 2014. “Land as Pedagogy: Nishnaabeg Intelligence and Rebellious Transformation.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 3 (3): 1-25. Accessed 18 April 2023, https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/22170.

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[1] I am thankful to Antje Ellermann for bringing this concept about in her research project on “Belonging in Unceded Territory” (SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, https://migration.ubc.ca/research/faculty-research-projects/belonging-in-unceded-territory/), of which I have been one of many collaborators.

[2] As done, for instance, within a framework of critical diversity literacy (Steyn 2014).

[3] See my recent attempt in “(Re)imagining a ‘Good Life’ as a Settler Scholar: How Can I Decolonize and Indigenize European Studies through Indigenous Storywork?” (Hallensleben 2022).

[4] See also her website at https://indigenousstorywork.com (Accessed 30 Jan. 2023).

[5] See the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Indigenous Strategic Plan (2020), accessible at https://isp.ubc.ca (Accessed 17 Jan. 2023).

[6] See https://narratives.migration.ubc.ca/indigenous-presence-lecture-series/ (Accessed 17 Jan. 2023).

[7] I had learned about the booklet at a Decolonization Workshop organized by UBC’s Centre for Migration Studies and the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC (AMSSA).

[8] “Radical Diversity: An International Discussion on Colonial Practices, Structures and Discourses and Strategies to Disrupt Them.” Zoom Recording. Vancouver BC [Xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) Territory]: University of British Columbia, 2021. https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/63300/items/1.0406134 (Accessed 16 Apr. 2023).

[9] “Radical Diversity: An International Discussion of Transformative Narratives from an Indigenous, Jewish and Immigrant Perspective.” Zoom Recording. Vancouver BC [Xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) Territory]: University of British Columbia, 2021. https://migration.ubc.ca/events/event/radical-diversity-an-international-discussion-of-transformative-narratives-from-an-indigenous-jewish-and-immigrant-perspective/ (Accessed 16 Apr. 2023).

[10] See https://www.dcrs.ca/kristi-pinderi-is-a-finalist-in-the-top-25-canadian-immigrant-awards/ (Accessed 16 Apr. 2023).

[11] In this regard, see chapter four on “Queering European Public Spaces” by Fatima El-Tayeb (2011).

[12] See Koostachin’s website at https://juleskoostachin.com (Accessed 17 Jan. 2023).

[13] UBC Webinar Series, 7-9 April 2021, https://narratives.migration.ubc.ca/storytelling/ (Accessed 17 Jan. 2023).

[14] According to McMahon’s own translation and the online dictionary at https://ojibwe.lib.umn.edu/main-entry/debwe-vai, the noun for truth comes from the verb for telling the truth, debwe (Accessed 25 May 2021).

[15] The latter two statements, I owe to Jules Koostachin.

[16] This publication grew out of two SSHRC funded research projects: “Migration as Core Narrative of Plural Societies: Towards an Aesthetics of Postmigrant Literature” (SSHRC Insight Development Grant 2019-2023, with collaborator Moritz Schramm, Southern Denmark University) and Decolonizing and Indigenizing European and Migration Studies through Indigenous Storywork Methodologies” (SSHRC Connection Grant 2022/23, with collaborators Elizabeth Nijdam, María José Athie Martinez, Dorothee Leesing, and David Gaertner, UBC, https://narratives.migration.ubc.ca/indigenous-storywork-workshop-august-2022/). I especially thank Jo-ann Archibald Q’um Q’um Xiiem and all Indigenous workshop participants for their guidance.


Published on May 1, 2023.


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