Regenerating Land, Life, and Autonomy: An Indigenous Border Critique

Amrah Salomon
UC Santa Barbara

“Regenerating Land, Life, and Autonomy” presents an Indigenous-centered critique of the US-Mexico border through detailed study of Yuma, Arizona, an iconic setting for the colonial Western imaginary and a traditional homeland to border-crossed Indigenous peoples. The book argues that like Yuma, the entire US project is transcolonial, marked by other European colonialisms and Anglocentric white supremacy, which have historically overlapped, competed, and mutually reinforced one another through the transfiguration of each other’s technologies. Hence, critiques of settler colonialism must better contend with transcolonialities and their transfigurations. “Regenerating Land, Life, and Autonomy” presents a methodology for doing transcolonial analysis on geographic sites, social and economic institutions, cultural representations, and political imaginaries by examining the work of metaphors in making and articulating meaning. By looking at how metaphors function within the dualisms and transfigured technologies of colonial imaginaries while centering Indigenous peoples and fugitive struggles of racialized others, the book reveals how carcerality is linked to extraction, how ideas of freedom are structured through criminality, how possessing land is tied to limiting life, how political notions of belonging and inclusion depend upon unbelonging and non-humanness, and how sovereignty and nationalisms may be limited in comparison to radical, un-national autonomies.