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Accepted Paper:

Not so long ago, in this galaxy: the shifting relationship between global Indigenous peoples and Star Wars.  
David Haworth (Monash University)

Paper short abstract:

Star Wars has appropriated from and stereotyped Indigenous cultures. Yet its major themes — anti-imperialism and the bond between living things — resonate with many Indigenous artists. Recently, Star Wars has engaged with Indigenous Futurisms by incorporating Indigenous authorship and perspectives.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I examine the history of encounters between global Indigenous peoples and the space opera franchise Star Wars. I argue that this complex and shifting relationship can be seen to cohere into three distinct stories, or episodes.

Episode I: Raiders of the Mask. The early Star Wars films were inspired by Joseph Campbell’s universalising ‘monomyth’ theory of the hero’s journey, yet they sometimes perpetuate stereotypes of the noble versus the barbaric savage, while also raiding global Indigenous cultures for their narratives, beliefs, hairstyles, clothing, and use of puppetry and masks.

Episode II: A New Resonance. Despite such universalising, stereotyping and appropriative tendencies, Star Wars is at its heart a story about resistance to imperialism, and the belief that all living things are connected. These themes have resonated deeply with many global Indigenous artists, particularly in North America and Oceania. These artists often reclaim and subvert the visual iconography of Star Wars to tell stories of Indigenous resilience and survivance.

Episode III: The Rise of Temuera. Rather than thinking of Star Wars and Indigenous peoples as entirely separate entities — one producing, the other responding — recent and upcoming entries to the franchise invoke notions of Indigenous Futurisms, through the marshalling of Indigenous directors, authors, and performers. Notably, in recent Disney+ series The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, Māori actor Temuera Morrison has reshaped the role of Boba Fett by incorporating Māori concepts, traditions, combat techniques and weapons into his performance.

Panel P25
Alien Encounters and Indigenous Futurisms in Sci-fi film and TV
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -