VAR SUPPLEMENTS: Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions
The following set of activities is meant to be a teacher-led pedagogical tool for provoking undergraduates to engage their perceptions of indigenous futures. It is hoped that this will help to disrupt the ways in which Native peoples have become representationally embedded within Western media and imaginations as artifacts of the past.
- Close your eyes for 60 seconds and in as vivid detail as possible, imagine that extraterrestrials land on Earth today. Write down a few key images.
- Where do they land and who do they meet?
- Is there conflict? If so, describe it.
- This time, close your eyes for 60 seconds and vividly imagine what the future, broadly defined, will look like in 200 years. Write down a few key images.
- What utopian and dystopian elements did this include?
- What role, if any, was there for indigenous people?
- List a few of your favorite science fiction films.
- In what ways do the plots of these films correlate with what you imagined in the first two activities?
- How influential do you think these films have been on your own ideas about the future?
- Watch as many of the clips below as you have time for (totals approximately 35 minutes).
- What was your reaction to these clips in light of this article?
- Did you agree with the author’s interpretations? Why or why not?
- In light of the article and these viewings, choose one of your listed favorite sci-fi films from activity 3 and briefly describe how it might be reimagined to highlight indigenous perspectives.
- To what extent does the article convince you that the representations of indigenous peoples in science fiction films have the potential to make practical differences in the lives of indigenous peoples?
Available Film Links
Dillon, Grace. 2012. Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
Nama, Adilifu. 2008. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Rieder, John. 2008. Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.
Collins, Samuel. 2008. All Tomorrow’s Cultures: Anthropological Engagements with the Future. New York: Berghahn Books.
This facebook page is an excellent resource to critical scholarship and commentary on indigenous futurisms, with regular engagement with Native science fiction films.
IndigiTube is an Aboriginal Australian example of an video-sharing website that aligns with indigenous futurism in that it is a new media delivery system that appeals to indigenous youth whose primary media engagements are through phones and tablets, as well as its wide variety of topics that transcend binary tropes around tradition and “contemporary modern” life.