S2E5 – Indigenous Futurisms and Writing Indigenous Characters with Prof. Grace L. Dillon

In this episode of Doing Diversity in Writing, we—Bethany and Mariëlle—interview Professor Grace L. Dillon about Indigenous Futurisms and how (not) to write Indigenous characters.

Listen to it here on Podbean or find us on your favourite podcast app.

Grace L. Dillon (Anishinaabe with family, friends, and relatives from Bay Mills Nation and Garden River Nation with Aunties and Uncles also from the Saulteaux Nation) is Professor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Department in the School of Gender, Race, and Nations and also Affiliated Professor at English and Women, Gender, and Sexualities Departments at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on a range of interests including Indigenous Futurisms, Queer Indigenous Studies, Gender, Race, and Nations Theories and Methodologies courses, Climate and Environmental Justice(s) from Indigenous Perspectives, Reparations Justice, Resurgence Justice, Science Fiction, Indigenous Cinema, Popular Culture, Race and Social Justice, and early modern literature. (For her full biography, please check out the episode page on our website.)

She is the senior editor along with editors Isiah Lavender III, Taryne Taylor, and Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay of the upcoming Routledge Handbook of CoFuturisms including areas such as Afrofuturism, African Futurisms, Indigenous Futurisms, Latinx Futurisms, Asian Futurisms, Gulf Futurisms and BIPOC Queer and (Dis) ability Futurisms (forthcoming 2022). She also edited the first scholarly collection of Indigenous Futurisms with John Rieder and Michael Levy for a double-special edition of the journal Extrapolation (2016) and was the non-fiction editor of Light Speed: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! (June 2016).She is the editor of Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (University of Arizona Press, 2012) and Hive of Dreams: Contemporary Science Fiction from the Pacific Northwest (Oregon State University Press, 2003).

Her work appears in diverse journals including The Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television; Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction; Extrapolation; The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts; The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television; Paradoxa, issues Africa SF (2013) and SF Now (2014); Science Fiction Studies; and Renaissance Papers (2001–ongoing). Numerous book chapters appear in collections such as The Fictions of Stephen Graham Jones: A Critical Companion, edited by Billy Stratton (2016), Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction (2014), and Orbiting Ray Bradbury’s Mars (2013).

She has appeared as a keynote speaker for many venues globally including both an Indigenous Futurisms and Queer Indigenous Symposiums in a row in Sydney, Australia (November 2019); currently serves on boards such as Ethno-ISS, the International Space Station; (Summer 2020 on) and the Posthuman Journal (2021), Board member for the Centre for Indigenous Futurisms in Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and on International Committees such as our IAFA BIPOC Committee (2020 on); currently serves as a Presidential Fellow for Future Collaboratories (2018–2022 ongoing); has been interviewed on many podcasts such as Twisted Sisters’ “Imminent Cuisine: Indigenous Food Futurisms,” webinars such as Black and Indigenous Futures (2021), radio shows such as “Exploring Indigenous Futurisms” on Native America Calling (2016. 2017, 2018) and BBC3 (2020); supported our Indigenous communities by writing in Indigenous magazines such as Kimiwan and Moonshot, Volume 3, a special edition of Indigenous Futurisms graphic novel compilation (June 2020); been interviewed for television shows such Drew Hayden Taylor’s show on Aboriginal Broadcasting Network (2019–2020), interviewed for newspapers such as The New York Times, September 2020, and venues such as Indigenizing SPARK (2020) and consulted as an Anishinaabe person for films such as the upcoming ecocritical dystopian film Antlers by Scott Cooper and Guillermo del Toro (2019–2021).

What Grace shared with us

  • Why and how she coined the term Indigenous Futurisms
  • What it was like to be a consultant as an Anishinaabe person to directors Scott Cooper and Guillermo del Toro
  • Some behind-the-scenes stories about the filming of Twilight
  • What true allyship looks like and how we can become an ally
  • How we can honour someone else’s story
  • Best practices of engaging with Indigenous communities

(Re)sources mentioned on the show and other recommendations by Grace L. Dillon, many of which are LGBTQ2+

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