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As part of a longer project on sea edges and coloniality, this essay studies ways of being that exceed the human, nonhuman, and colonial divide, and that find historical nodes of power and affective density at the boundaries of the Americas oceanic…
The work collected here was written about and on the sovereign land of many First Nations. The place it was assembled—the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities—is a land-grant institution that operates on Mni Sota Makoce (called Minnesota), Dakota land, and alongside and over the Mississippi River whose watershed is the major artery of Turtle Island (called North America).
Simi Kang agreed to guest edit this issue of Open Rivers, moving our work toward questions of environmental equity and justice, and by extension coming to understand their opposites: environmental inequities, injustices, and racism.
In late 2018, while researching the connections between environmental justice and Indigenous womxn’s activism, I was invited to story about how water might respond to environmental injustice and racism. In preparation, I thought about how the lands and peoples to which I belong struggle against “slow violence” brought on by the toxic effects of uranium contamination and nuclear pollution…
When They Blew the Levee is a fierce love letter to the power of community, one encoded to Black sociality, the broader American social imaginary, and the mythical power of the Mississippi River. In praxis, it is a political tool—a lyrical baseball bat—for the residents of Pinhook, Missouri to wield in a rally against the sustained structural violence of a biased justice system and racialized world.
Two sets of rivers in what is now known as Canada are vital actors in urban landscapes. The McIntyre and Kaministiquia Rivers in Thunder Bay, Ontario and the Assiniboine and Red Rivers in Winnipeg, Manitoba are sites of colonial violence and disappearance: in both cities, dead Indigenous people have been pulled from their depths.
To create this list of “contraband” practices (forwarded by David Naguib Pellow in our feature of the same name), our contributors responded to the following question: If you were to gift someone one thing (reading/practice/site of engagement) to guide them to environmental justice or a different relationship with water, what would it be?
This essay is a collage of images and writing from an ongoing project “Reading the River: Yemayá and Oshun.” I am approaching it as is an experimental documentary that looks at the relationship between Blackness and the Mississippi River as a collision of ideas, cultural practices, political geographies, and intimacies…