Stoodis: Indigenous Political Activism Through Facebook Memes

Curator's Note


During the run-up to the November midterm elections, news stories circulated widely about the suppression of Native American voters in North Dakota. While these news reports created a larger public awareness of colonizer politics on reservations, indigenous peoples have long fought the settler project of indigenous erasure. Access to the internet and digital media platforms have given natives opportunities to network and share activism in ways that were much more difficult in the past due to the geographic and material differences between members of different communities.  

With these new opportunities, online indigenous groups have been created to share resistance, support, and activism between members. I have curated memes from one Facebook group I call “Indigenous Red Resistance.” I have renamed the group to protect its membership. I have also blacked-out identifying names and markers as is expected in indigenous research methodologies (Kovach, 2009; Younging, 2018). These shared memes use satire as a way to critique settler colonialism, white feminism, Native American political moderates, and federal politics to reflect radical indigenous self-identification.

My opening slide uses indigenous-specific slang of “stoodis,” which means, in an indigenous and reservation context, “let’s do this.” The text of the meme introduces the critique of capitalism by reference to the “invisible hand,” and settler colonialism, by reference to the commodification of historically indigenous lands. Imposed over the image of an indigenous warrior drawing a bow, is the text “fucking stoodis,” which signals a call of resistance to capitalism and settler colonialism. My closing slide invokes the slang “skoden,” meaning “let’s go then,” and asserts indigenous resistance since the first colonizers arrived in the United States.

Other slides critique white feminism’s lack of intersectionality, Elizabeth Warren for not using her power to foreground indigenous political issues, a federal response of police action to any instances of indigenous resistance, and indigenous moderates who lack the will to give up their own power to promote a more radical indigenous agenda. I contend here that the satirical remix of indigenous culture, popular culture, and American politics helps create a subversive indigenous identity and acts as a means of community building.

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