Wildtending, settler colonialism, and ecocultural identities in environmental futures

Authored by: Bruno Seraphin

Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138478411
eBook ISBN: 9781351068840
Adobe ISBN:


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In Chapter 24 of the Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity, Seraphin examines an inchoate nomadic movement bound by shared environmental practices, here called wildtending, and speculates about ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the United States Northwest imagine an array of contradictory environmental futures. The chapter situates wildtenders’ ecocultural identity formation within the ongoing structural conditions of U.S. settler colonialism. The author contends that such radical environmentalisms could more fully realize their liberatory potential by entering into relationships of direct accountability with contemporary Indigenous efforts toward land repatriation, resurgence, and self-determination. Drawing attention to diverse and sometimes competing visions for the movement’s possible trajectories, Seraphin makes the theoretical argument that ecocultural identities emerge not only within networks of human and nonhuman relations, but moreover in ways those relations are imagined into the future. The author complicates some wildtenders’ settler futurities by centering scholarship pertaining to North American Indigenous resurgence, futurisms, and science fiction, as well as Black feminist Afro-futurism. Seraphin proposes that such a focus – combined with a conception of community organizing as a form of practical science fiction – opens space for a hopeful orientation toward viable ecocultural futures, disrupting the predominantly apocalyptic tone of twenty-first century global warming discourse.

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