Decolonizing Development in Diné Bikeyah

Resource Extraction, Anti-Capitalism, and Relational Futures

in Environment and Society
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ABSTRACT

In this article, I examine the anti-capitalist and antidevelopment politics that Diné resisters espouse in their critiques of resource extraction in the Navajo Nation. I argue that existing anthropological and historical studies about Diné resistance minimize the specifically anti-capitalist character of this resistance by erasing the capitalist underpinnings of development. I draw from Indigenous feminists, Native studies scholars, and Diné land defenders to argue that development in the form of resource extraction is a violent modality of capitalism that seeks to kill Diné life. In response to this death drive, Diné resisters have created a politics of relational life to challenge and oppose development. I examine the historical and material conditions that have given rise to this politics of relational life and suggest its central role in invigorating anti-capitalist decolonization struggles.

Contributor Notes

MELANIE K. YAZZIE is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and the 2018-2019 Katrin H. Lamon Fellow at the School for Advanced Research. In 2019 she will begin a joint appointment at the University of New Mexico (UNM) as Assistant Professor of Native American Studies and American Studies. She holds a PhD in American Studies from UNM. She specializes in Diné (Navajo) studies, Indigenous feminist and queer studies, American Indian history, social and political theory, and critical environmental studies. She organizes with The Red Nation, a grassroots organization advocating the liberation of Native people from colonialism and capitalism. Email: melanie.yazzie@gmail.com

Environment and Society

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