Unsettling settler colonialism in words and land:

A case study of far Northern California

  • Mneesha Gellman
    Emerson College


This article examines two case studies of unsettling settler colonialism in the far north of California: the inclusion of Yurok language electives in public high schools, and land return to the Wiyot Tribe. These two cases demonstrate repertoires of Indigenous resistance to historic and ongoing culturecide—the killing of culture—and show what unsettling settler colonialism looks like in the region. The central research question in this article is: How does unsettling happen in settler colonial-controlled public institutionalised spaces in far northern California? I argue that acts of Indigenous voice-raising and place-making constitute forms of resistance to ongoing erasure of Indigenous peoples in settler-colonised spaces. Concretely, both Yurok language course inclusion in public schools and land return of Duluwat Island to the Wiyot Tribe disrupt patterns of culturecide and promote new kinds of settler-Indigenous relations in the region.

Published: 2022-08-11
Pages:22 to 40
Section: Articles
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How to Cite
Gellman, M. (2022). Unsettling settler colonialism in words and land:: A case study of far Northern California. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 15(1), 22-40. https://doi.org/10.5204/ijcis.2322