Indigenous Decolonization

From the blog, “Gazing Westward”: 

Cobb, Amanda J. “Powerful Medicine: The Rhetoric of Comanche Activist LaDonna Harris.” SAIL 18.4 (2006): 63-85.

Cobb’s article defines LaDonna Harris as a Native American rhetorician who ultimately offers a rhetoric of decolonization through her insistence that all understanding, communication, and change comes through cultural values – in her case, Comanche values. Cobb spends time first establishing Harris’ leadership roles from the 1970s to the present as not a traditional leader working within a hierarchy but a leader who subverts “traditional,” hegemonic leadership ideals in her rhetorics. Harris’ rhetorics are defined by her 1)focus on sustaining and expanding social/community networks, drawing from Comanche values, 2)creation of new spaces and new possibilities, 3)focus upon creation of a forces of social changes tided to collective groups/thinking rather than her own individual ideas and ethos, 4)disruption and redefinition of ideas, language, meaning, and rhetorics that historically maintain colonization. Cobb argues that Harris is most valuable, rhetorically, for how she creates rather than what she creates (66). Cobb spends six years studying Harris via her Harris’ writing, interviews with Harris, and working with Harris and concludes that Harris’ rhetoric is ultimately a rhetoric of decolonization that offers “powerful medicine” to her community.

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