The January 2021 edition of PMLA housed an entire cluster on "Indigenous Literatures and the Anthropocene," in which at least four of the eight non-Indigenous contributors directly addressed and supported a call for learning from and collaborating with Indigenous voices. The unanimity of the discussion dissolves somewhat drastically when considering exactly how this should be done, leading Melanie Taylor to voice one of the framing questions of the cluster: "If it is increasingly clear that not all members of Anthropos are equal drivers of the Anthropocene, and that not all are uniformly compromised by its havoc, how can we begin to manufacture a communal will to redress it?" (Taylor 10). My thesis presents as a potential solution collective environmental guilt—collective guilt responding to the specifically ecological violence enacted by settler-societies. William Kent Krueger's This Tender Land and Geraldine Brook's Caleb's Crossing, two works of settler-authored historical fiction, utilize collective environmental guilt to manufacture a communal will in their popular readerships by demonstrating and assigning guilt to the settler-collectives of their protagonists before guiding readers to embrace and center Indigenous ecologies as a potential path to mitigating that guilt and promoting positive environmental change. As settler-authored works, the texts offer an alternative mode of engagement with Indigenous knowledges for an audience traditionally outside of scholarly discourse's reach in a way that models a path for ally authorship supporting Indigenous environmental movements.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Arana, Elena Marie, "Settler-Author Allyship in Centering Indigenous Ecologies: Communal Will Through Collective Environmental Guilt in This Tender Land and Caleb's Crossing" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 9491.
collective guilt, environmentalism, Indigenous ecologies, allyship, historical fiction