Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 2021


Guido, Sam. Looking beyond binaries: How native activists create decolonized futures. Undergraduate Honors Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2021.


Copyright Sam Guido 2021.


Native people in the United States and Canada have been resisting settler colonialism for as long as settlers have tried to impose it upon them. That activism has been continuous across centuries; however, sometimes that overall narrative has been lost due to the imposition of settler perspectives that constrain Native activism. Recent Native activist movements in the United States and Canada such as the anti-Keystone Pipeline protests and Idle No More received a lot of attention from both the public and the media, but there was an impulse to define these movements within binary categories like “male or female” or “successful or unsuccessful.” Using an Indigenous-centered approach and decolonizing methodology, this thesis examines the American Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the Keystone protests, and Idle No More. A close examination of the importance of intergenerational change to Native activists and the role of Native women in these movements and eras reveals the dynamic legacy of Native activism that defies categories such as gender and failure or success. Working across and beyond binaries, Native activists since the 1960s have drawn on diverse strategies to create decolonized Indigenous futures.