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ERIC Number: EJ793372
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
Activist Media in Native AIDS Organizing: Theorizing the Colonial Conditions of AIDS
Morgensen, Scott
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v32 n1 p35-56 2008
In this article, the author examines how activist media by Native AIDS organizers promoted anticolonial analyses of AIDS, gender, and sexuality as a contribution to scholarship on Native responses to AIDS. His discussion centers on the organizers who created media as authorities on and in their media. In contrast to recent accounts that popularize theory of the power relations that condition AIDS, he affirms claims by community-based organizers and scholars that AIDS activists already created this theory in their historical work, and that their media present a record of this theory being used to intervene in the everyday struggles faced by Native communities. His argument reflects his location as a non-Native critic of appropriations of Native culture in non-Native sexual minority and AIDS organizing and as a scholar of methods used by AIDS organizers worldwide to challenge the inequalities that shape the pandemic. For this article, the author examines media housed in public archives and organizational records, in which activists theorized the colonial conditions of AIDS and invited Native audiences to take up decolonial and indigenist responses. He highlights media that foregrounded women; intravenous (IV) drug users; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and two-spirit people; and all people living with HIV/AIDS for their invitations to solidarity across the differences that AIDS marked. The author first considers how Native AIDS activists addressed the colonial legacies that shaped health by promoting Native control over health and health care, and in particular through imaginative representations that modeled decolonial and indigenist approaches to health. He then considers how Native LGBT and two-spirit activists in AIDS organizing critiqued the conditioning of AIDS by colonial homophobia and centered sexual diversity in Native health activism. Although fuller histories of Native AIDS organizing may examine the contexts of reception that activist media received, his goal here is to mark not media's effects as much as their design, as evidence that Native AIDS organizers generated theories and methods that challenged the colonial conditions of AIDS and produced an archive of knowledge to which scholars and activists can respond. (Contains 61 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A