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February 3, 2017

Responsive Rhetoric

February 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

This week has been a hard one and the year has had a rocky start for me: I have been sick, and I am concerned about the recent news that overlaps with my community and research. President Trump is making way for Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). Opposition to these two pipelines is the basis of the Native movements around Idle No More and Standing Rock (Mni Wiconi) which pushed for the stoppage of both Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipeline. This is particularly discouraging as this action would threaten tribal sovereignty and break treaty law.

The result of this decision to allow the pipelines to move forward has yet to be seen. However, I am interested to see that protests occurred immediately after the announcement was made; the announcement was made two days ago and, since then, there were protests in New York two days ago and in Washington D.C. yesterday, and one in Minnesota today against the decision to encourage the continued development on these pipelines with hundreds of protesters at each event, despite it being part of the work week and extremely short notice to organize and react. This means that support is still strong and there is a clear alliance of the over 150 Indigenous Nations who support this movement as well as the millions of Americans who stand united with us.

The chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, David Archambault II, responded to President Trump’s permission for the Army Corp of Engineers to bypass the environmental analysis by writing:

Your Memorandum of January 24th instructs the Secretary of the Army to direct the Assistant Secretary for Civil Works and the US Army Corps of Engineers to review and expedite “requests for approvals to construct and operate the DAPL,” including easements. It also directs them to consider rescinding or modifying the Memo of December 4th, which calls for an Environmental Impact Statement and consideration of a reroute. There is more, but perhaps most astonishingly it calls for consideration of withdrawal of the Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS.

President Trump, the EIS is already underway. The comment period does not close until February 20th and the Department of the Army has already received tens of thousands of comments. This change in course is arbitrary and without justification; the law requires that changes in agency positions be backed by new circumstances or new evidence, not simply by the President’s whim. It makes it even more difficult when one considers the close personal ties you and your associates have had with Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco.

Your memorandum issues these directives with the condition that these actions are carried out “to the extent permitted by law.” I would like to point out that the law now requires an Environmental Impact Statement. The USACE now lacks statutory authority to issue the easement because it has committed to the EIS process. Federal law, including the requirement of reasonable agency decision making, prevents that.

He continues to hold to Tribal and legal sovereignty with the following comments:
The problem with the Dakota Access pipeline is not that it involves development, but rather that it was deliberately and precariously placed without proper consultation with tribal governments. This memo takes further action to disregard tribal interests and the impacts of yesterday’s memorandums are not limited to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. This disregard for tribal diplomatic relations and the potential for national repercussions is utterly alarming.

This gives encouragement to the millions of people who are members of Tribal Nations and those who stand united with them. This unity is the strength of the movement, the nations, and the communities; may these voices continue to speak out and exercise their sovereignty and independence while encouraging considerate and thoughtful civility on the part of the U.S. Government and the Tribal Nations.

However, our survival is our resistance; our survivance is our voice, our sovereignty.  Life is basic part of nature and nature is the most basic of laws.  When life is threated by endangering life-giving, life-maintaining water, we resist to survive. We resist for our children and the next seven generations.  Our survivance is ongoing and we will not stay silent.



December 3, 2016

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

December 3, 2016 | By | No Comments

One of the challenges I have when doing research is focusing my work and narrowing the topic. I do not think this is an unusual issue to have. However, it is one I have struggled with this past month. I think this is obvious from my last post.
When I first talked with Ethan about my possible topics for this project, we talked about narrowing it; however, we also discussed some other potential areas of research and I left our conversation with even more ideas than I had going into it. Ethan pointed out that one of the challenges in my project ideas is the relative paucity of research for me to lean on for my project, but there is so much potential in what I can do and there is much to explore.
This is part of the challenge. I keep finding myself being distracted by the openness of the topic: I understand and know the need to make sure my project is contained and focused, but I keep seeing all the open space beyond it. So, as I limit my topic to aspects of rhetorical sovereignty around Idle No More and Standing Rock, I see the issues of water, oil corporations, Native American studies, treaty law, government, tribal and community alliances, gender studies, as well as the linguistic and rhetorical structures and patterns that are present in these areas of study on the activist movements I am working with in my project.
One of the things I have been struggling with is thinking about what topic I want to explore after this project is completed. I want to set it up to make it easy for me to add on to it later. This, too, means I am aware of the open areas beyond the limited scope of this project as I see potential connections in my future studies. However, these decisions are difficult to make, as they are all interesting subjects that I want to delve into and explore. In the meantime, I continue to focus and try to not get distracted by the space all around me.
But, then again, …



November 5, 2016

Looking forward

November 5, 2016 | By | No Comments

It is November and we are moving further into web design and interactive visuals in our cohort work. I am getting excited about planning my project. I know I want to do something with visuals, space/place, and water.
I am still holding onto the idea of working with the water systems in Flint. However, I am still looking at some other possible ideas of place and space with my colleague and classmate, Stephanie Mahnke. We both have strong interests in Asian and Asian American studies and are both members of Asian Pacific American Graduate Association (APAGA) and may do something related to that.
Likewise, the water rights issues surrounding Standing Rock and the movement behind No DAPL has emerged this semester. This is reflective of the issues I have been looking at for the past few years around Indigenous social movements and water rights issues.
Whichever way I go on this project, I will need to think about place and space as well as digital presence and presentation. Additionally, I believe rhetorical sovereignty is an essential part of this project. So, I should make sure this project is one that incorporates the voices of the community it represents.
In short, I must ask myself some questions to start working on this project:

  • How will the topic of my project be presented? What kind of digital space will be most useful in promoting the topic of the project?
  • What community will this digital presence represent? How will the community be reached and represented in this digital format?  How can the community interact with this online presence?
  • How can it be useful and informative for both the community it represents? What needs does it meet for the community?  How will it encourage community engagement?
  • How will the visualization of the data explore the issue in new and useful ways that will develop and clarify connections within the data? How will this format be more effective than any other format that could be used?
  • What kind of interactive design on the website will help create activism and unity within the community? What new understanding and development of the topic will this digitization be able to present to help the community?

No matter which community I end up supporting with this project, I know I want to promote activism and engagement. All three of these communities have strong links to my world and life. It is a difficult choice and one I must make soon.
Any feedback you want to give is very welcome!
Thank you!



October 16, 2016

Place and Space: Northern Wales in the 1800s to 1900s

October 16, 2016 | By | No Comments

A couple of weeks ago, I presented some research on place and space at the Cultural Rhetorics Conference (CRCon).  My presentation was on “Whose Voice and Space?: A look at white space and rhetorical sovereignty in St. Kitts memory of colonization.” Specifically, I looked into the massacre of the Kalinago people at Bloody Point and how that relates to the rhetorical sovereignty around the claiming of the land and deaths at the hands of the colonizers of the Island and how it relates to the rhetorical sovereignty of the Islanders.

I am very excited about the work we are starting in relation to mapping because of my interest in Indigenous peoples and People of Color and our emerging voices and the rhetorical sovereignty we claim over our own stories and histories in contrast to the stories told about us. As my cohort learned during this week’s lecture, maps are political and tell a story of power. Who claims that power over the land and place that is mapped, tells their perspective of what is true about that location. In short, the act of claiming the land, naming the places, and presenting a history of that location to fit a narrative are acts of power and colonialism.
I am looking forward to our current assignment of creating an interactive map, as my colleagues and I have chosen to look at Northern Wales. Wales, like other some other Celtic areas, was conquered by the English. However, unlike many places (like St. Kitts) that were colonized many centuries later, they managed to keep their language and culture (while somewhat modified) mostly intact. This caused many of the places and locations to have a Welsh name as well as an Anglicized name and–on occasion—an alternative English name.  

Specifically, on our map, we will be looking at the labor produced in the area (specifically the quarries, mines, and woolen mills—including places of strikes and unionization), who benefited from that labor, and the philanthropic results of these acts within the community that created arts communities and arts education outreaches that are results of families that financially benefited from the industrial ages’ slave trade and wanted to benefit from the work produced by Welsh laborers in the 1800s to the 1900s. However, while large estates, gardens, and resorts were built with this money, the locals from the region, experienced hardships. This lead to strikes, work outages, and unionization. This action created a better financial base through the better wages through unionization so the communities of these Welsh laborers and their communities benefited. The philanthropic results of the money placed back into the community by these workers and their families created arts and educational programs that benefited the region.

In short, I am looking forward to exploring this idea in more depth and visually representing this time and location by recognizing some of the history that is overlooked by many.   



September 30, 2016

First Year: New adventures

September 30, 2016 | By | No Comments

Hello! O’siyo! Konichiwa!
My name is Kenlea Pebbles, and I am one of the fellows in the Cultural Heritage Informatics cohort at Michigan State University (MSU). I am one of two of the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Culture (WRAC) fellows in this year’s cohort. I am looking forward to everything we will be learning and producing this year.

This is my first year in the Ph.D. program in WRAC. I will be focusing on cultural rhetorics and linguistics in the Writing and Rhetoric program. I have a strong interest in: environmental rhetorics, feminist rhetorics, visual rhetorics, Native American and Indigenous rhetorics, digital rhetorics, and a plethora of other topics. In particular, I am interested in how linguistics and cultural rhetorics intercept and overlap.

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