Still sickly after all these days: but on with the bloggin’ about third spaces

I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven/when I awoke I spent that on a necklace…
-Kanye West

So apologies again if you’re a regular reader; I cannot, for the life of me, get well, so I’ve been devoting my time to resting, doing things you don’t describe on the blog (and jogging to and from the restroom), and trying to keep up with my scholarly work.

I took a mulligan on an assignment this weekend because of one of those beautiful “you can drop one” policies that some professors put in their syllabi, but I feel like doing the thought work now (late) so I figure I’ll blog it.

We’re currently reading a book called The Third Space of Sovereignty by Kevin Bruyneel. The main thrust of Bruyneel’s argument is that scholars (and everyone else, for that matter) have to resist the idea that there’s a binary relationship for indigenous people in America (i.e. “part of the United States” or “independent nations”). He illustrates this tension in the introduction by using the example of Jesse Ventura and the Mille Lacs Band regarding hunting and fishing rights.

The third space, then, is somewhere in the middle. And it’s relevant.

This makes me wonder why there’s been so much flack given to my considerations of mixed bloodedness, as I would define mixed-bloods, in particular, as the vanguards of this third space.  In fact it seems that mixed blood– as a theoretical concept– gets to the heart of at least one of the issues that dominated the last book we read, Blood Narrative by Chadwick Allen.

Allen creates a triad (Blood, land, memory) that he uses to explore indigenity. I don’t personally agree with his comparisons across hemispheres (though I’ve already been criticized for criticizing), but I do see a dual-point intervention to be made for a mixed blood (like myself, part Cherokee and part European). Blood, obviously, is our major point of contention (we have SOME native blood– in many cases not enough, or not proven by enough paperwork, to be enrolled). Mixed bloodedness also touches on the idea of memory, though, as our histories and our understandings of tradition are skewed and modified– they occupy a third space of their own.

I see all these triangles emerging (curses, Aristotle!). Blood-Memory-Land. United States-third space-Tribal Government. Authentic-dependant-massmarket.

I wonder if my scholarship is turning into “native rhetoric”-Phill-“the field of rhetoric” and “native rhetoric”-Phil-“the field of native studies.” Perhaps I hover so much in the third space that no one can really figure out exactly where my work belongs. “gaming rhetoric”-Phill-“gaming studies.” “pop culture rhetoric”-Phill-“pop culture studies.”

It’s maddening!

But triangular.



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