Purdue University Graduate School
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Resurrection Flowers and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge: Sacred Ecology, Colonial Capitalism, and Yakama Feminism as Preservation Ethic

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posted on 2020-08-07, 19:02 authored by Kaden C MillirenKaden C Milliren
In Resurrection Flowers and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge Kaden C. Milliren seeks to evaluate and analyze differences in perspectives and perceptions of the environment between Western and Indigenous worldviews and, consequentially, the different attitudes and ways-ofbeing with the world that emerge as a result. In so doing, Milliren discusses the sacredness of local landscape for Indigenous peoples and the role its spiritually-significant elements impact an entire cosmology. These important elements of sacred local ecologies are socially, materially, and symbolically rhetorical, ascribing meaning onto all elements of worldview from faith to ceremony, oratory to cultural tradition, physical sustenance to ancestral connection. In feedback and feedforward loops, these aspects of cosmology continue to ascribe meaning onto one another, affecting and being affected by each other, continually weaving together meaning and, therefore, rhetorical mattering.

In this case study Milliren discusses the sacredness of the landscape of Southcentral Washington State, the land of the Yakama Nation, an affiliation of 14 bands and tribes indigenous to the area. Central to the physical ecology, as well as the ecology of life for the Indigenous population, is the salmon, a food source significant to all areas of Yakama life and central to Yakama spirituality, oral tradition, ceremony, and nourishment. Tracing the impact of colonial capitalism beginning in the 19th century, Milliren discusses diminished salmon populations and its impact on the local landscape as well as the Yakama way of life. Additionally, he discusses the Yakama Nation’s response to colonial violence through acts of culturally-situated events aimed at maintaining Yakama tradition and improving its peoples’ cultural and physical health. Coining the term resurrection flowers Milliren analyzes the ways the government has utilized the salmon for monetary gain at the expense of Indigenous populations, and how Indigenous activists have fought to preserve the salmon population and resurrect cultural tradition through revitalized acts of decolonial cultural practices.


Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • English

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Thomas Rickert

Additional Committee Member 2

Jennifer Bay

Additional Committee Member 3

Irwin Weiser