Studies of American Indian protest rhetoric often define American Indian opposition either by its resistance or its conformity to non-Native institutional discursive norms, suggesting that only one of the two can be considered authentic to American Indian cultures and identities. Addressing this debate, this thesis examines an instance of Native opposition which successfully blends the two approaches: Russell Means' 1989 statement to the United States Senate. Means employs the mode of story to effectively shift discursive authority from the Senate committee members to pan-Indigenous peoples. I call this shift rhetorical occupation, or the appropriation of rhetorical space. Through rhetorical occupation, Means displaces the dominant narrative of governmental power with his own story, drawing on Lakota storytelling practices and both complying with and resisting white Euro-American forms of persuasion. This analysis suggests that rather than defining a broad category of culturally authentic American Indian opposition rhetoric, scholars should consider how Native opposition rhetorics reflect distinct tribal rhetorical traditions and take unique approaches to navigating non-Native discursive norms.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
McIntire, Clarissa, "Russell Means' Use of the Universal Ecosystem Metaphor as an Act of Indigenous Resistance" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 9435.
Russell Means, rhetorical occupation, occupation, story, metaphor, performativity, Indigenous rhetorics, opposition rhetoric, protest rhetoric