Title

#LANDBACK: A Paradox of Decolonization and Reparations

Publication Date

7-19-2021

Document Type

Presentation

Department

Humanities

Disciplines

Holocaust and Genocide Studies | Indigenous Studies

Publication Title

15th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars

Conference Location

Virtual

Abstract

Hashtags, the finding aids of social media, permit the curation of posts, tweets, and stories on specific subjects, movements, and interests. The use of hashtags enables those involved in the movement to share information, work together, and expand their message's reach. However, while creating a digital genealogy of the movement, organizers may transfer ownership of the intellectual property created to support the movement. Acceptance of user agreements with a click transfers rights to the accounts' content to social media companies. The #LANDBACK movement's mission is to return lands to Indigenous peoples and achieve justice for historical and present wrongs. The campaign launched on October 12, 2020, by the NDN Collective to restore ecological health to stolen lands and return the land to Indigenous ownership across North America. Using #LANDBACK across social media, the NDN Collective brought together local and regional efforts into national movements in the United States and Canada. The acquisition of land was the driving force of the genocide of Indigenous peoples in North America. The land is the unintended monument to those who died at the hands of the settler-colonial project. This paper will examine the origins of the #LANDBACK movement, its progress, and social media user agreements' complications. The use of social media posts to document the movement's progress and successes while simultaneously adding companies' digital intellectual property creates a decolonization paradox. The reclaiming the land from settler-colonial control while adding to the infinite digital intellectual resources of social media companies will be interrogated. A movement dedicated to restitution and reparations for genocide willingly surrenders Indigenous digital intellectual knowledge used to advance its goals. An incredible price in human lives was the cost of having the land stolen. The loss of control of knowledge in the digital age is incalculable.

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