Preferred Name

Taylor Johnson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Communication Studies


Matt Brigham

Pete Bsumek

Carlos Aleman


Decolonial advocacy is a difficult, complex, tension-filled realm. Indigenous advocates working for decolonization must navigate decisions about whether or not to utilize rhetorics derived from the colonial systems they challenge, when to make material demands on colonial states and when to turn inward, and when and how to build coalitions with non-indigenous people. Decolonial movements in the Western Shoshone Nation, the Marshall Islands, and Hawai’i have approached these questions in differing but overlapping ways that address the varied colonial histories each nation faces.

This thesis argues that each of these movements has alternatively utilized and rejected colonial rhetorics to serve the decolonial aims of their advocacy. Throughout this thesis, I engage a variety of theoretical vocabularies, including rhetorical strategies and tactics (de Certeau, 1984), rhetorical maneuvers (Phillips, 2006), rhetorical appropriation (Black, 2009), and language theft (Minh-ha, 1989). Additionally, I consider the varied use of consummatory, instrumental, and coalitional rhetoric (Lake, 1991). I conclude that each of these rhetorical approaches is valuable in particular contexts, and that decolonial advocates may make use of any or all of these approaches as they fit the needs of a movement at a given moment.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons



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