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Building Bridges Online: Young Indigenous Women Using Social Media for Community Building and Identity Representation


Building Bridges Online: Young Indigenous Women Using Social Media for Community Building and Identity Representation

Hill, Katherine (2016) Building Bridges Online: Young Indigenous Women Using Social Media for Community Building and Identity Representation. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Mainstream media representations of Indigenous communities overwhelmingly follow a dual oversimplification: dichotomizing Indigenous peoples as “good” or “bad” according to normative settler-colonial constructs, or dismissing them altogether. With regards to Indigenous women, the tendency is toward the latter erasure. In many communities and social spaces, however, Indigenous women are visible and vocal leaders. In this thesis, I explore how young Indigenous women leaders take advantage of social media affordances to revitalize Indigenous communities and reconstruct Indigenous identity. Engaging the concept of Indigenous resurgence, I draw on interviews conducted with nine Indigenous women leaders from Yukon to elucidate what resurgent Indigenous leadership looks like in practice. I argue that the praxes of community building and identity representation that these nine women demonstrate on social media are everyday acts of Indigenous resistance and revitalization. By reclaiming and representing individual identities within the safe communities and contested spaces occupied through social media, I suggest that Indigenous women leaders empower their Indigenous social media audiences to reconstruct their own identities in turn. Moreover, I support the notion that everyday acts of representation have the cumulative power to subtly and slowly provoke profound discursive shifts. While these nine women’s social media interventions are primarily intended to empower other Indigenous peoples in determining personal identities, I conclude that they are also challenging mainstream media constructs and reshaping how non-Indigenous observers understand what it means to be Indigenous.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Hill, Katherine
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Media Studies
Date:18 August 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Gabriele, Sandra
Keywords:social media, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous communities, identity, identity representation, media representation, Yukon, women, leadership, Indigenous resurgence, Indigenous feminism
ID Code:981799
Deposited On:07 Nov 2016 19:55
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53


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