Publication Date


Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Publication Title

The Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism


Yifat Gutman and Jenny Wüstenberg




In this chapter, the use of memory by Indigenous activists and movements in North America to unsettle the status quo by bringing attention to a contested past is reviewed to demonstrate how memory activism has become an integral component of the Indigenous rights movement of the twenty-first century. Centered on awaking the memory of settler-colonial society to unsettle the dominant narrative that pervades the understanding of Indigenous peoples as something of the past serves to spark the settler-colonial state's remembrance that Indigenous people are of the present. Acknowledging the past by honoring the promises that were made undermines the historical fiction of Indigenous people belonging only to history pages and lacking a place in the present.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edit version of a chapter published in The Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism, 2023. The final authenticated version is available online at:


Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences