Rebecca Gardner, Communication Studies, presented a paper at “Feminisms & Rhetorics,” a conference at Minnesota State University Mankato sponsored by the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition. The title of her paper was “Resisting Authoritative Discourse: An American Indian Student Asserts the Complexity of her Writing Experience.”

U.S. policy explicitly named the English language as a weapon of colonization and a means of cultural assimilation.Through essays and interviews, a Native college student used words in the colonizer’s language ironically to resist authoritative discourse, resulting in integration of the words that she can now use as her own, in her own way. The student demonstrated that literacy in English can be a weapon, but it can also be a tool, available to use on behalf of sovereignty and survivance.