Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-11-2016

Major Department or Program

Politics - Environmental Studies


Aaron Bobrow-Strain


Social movement coalitions between Indigenous and environmental activists promote can unity but also exist in the shadow of ongoing Settler-colonialism and Indigenous self-determination movements. With an understanding of the intersectional nature of social oppression, coalitions of diverse stakeholders have the potential to build power and momentum towards radical political change. Coalitions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous actors have the capacity to not only achieve specific political objectives, but also restructure power dynamics among coalition members and transform social relationships. In order to experience these transformations, alliances must demand more than symbolic gestures of solidarity; hegemonic power structures cannot be dismantled within colonial frameworks. Therefore, coalitions with a strong commitment to social transformation must engage in the process of decolonizing their organizing. Only when an understanding of the complex social relations these coalitions embody transforms into unsettled alliances that actively support Indigenous resurgence and self-determination will these collaborations achieve their truly transformative potential.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Coalitions -- Cross-cultural studies, Social change-- Political aspects-- United States, Indigenous peoples -- Colonization, Keystone XL Pipeline Project, Social movements and transformations, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2016 --Politics-Environmental Studies

Permanent URL

Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis

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