Published: May 17, 2024

IsaacIncoming Geography faculty member, Isaac Rivera has received the Outstanding Dissertation award from the Digital Geographies Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. His dissertation is entitled: "Mapping the Terms of Freedom & the Ongoing Refusal of Settler Imaginaries".  

Abstract: Originating in Denver, Colorado in 1907 and exported as a national holiday in 1934, Columbus Day enacts the logic and institutionalization of conquest. Yet despite the seemingly totalizing imaginary of ongoing settler colonialism, Indigenous peoples continue to resist erasure. Mapping the Terms of Freedom & The Ongoing Refusal of Settler Imaginaries, traces the making and unmaking of settler imaginaries in Denver and the ways in which the city’s Indigenous communities choose to represent their stories of resistance to the world. I connect the way institutions of knowledge maintain settler imaginaries in place through the entanglement of visual and digital knowledge practices in settler colonialism. Using ethnographic, archival, and participatory research methods, I trace self-determined Indigenous representations of strength through the community curated (Re)Mapping Native Denver art exhibit that maps Indigenous geographies and dismantles the logics implicated in the settler imaginary. Held at Denver University (DU) in 2021, the (Re)Mapping Native Art Exhibit stood as a site of public facing education, demonstrating the liberatory power of retelling geo-history on the terms of Indigenous peoples.