Scholars have diversified notions of sovereignty with indigenous frameworks ranging from native sovereignty to cultural sovereignty. Within this range, there exists only a small body of research investigating technology in relation to indigenous sovereignty, excepting the colonial implications of guns, germs, film, and literacy. Furthermore, there is a lack of inquiry on how indigenous peoples operationalize their sovereignty through designs and uses of technology that combine emerging digital media technologies, old electronic media, and traditional indigenous media. This “indigenous convolution media” leads to what is referred to in this research as Indigenous Technological Sovereignty or “Tecno-Sovereignty.”
This dissertation begins to address knowledge gaps regarding the dynamic relationship between technology and indigenous sovereignty, and it posits that Tecno-Sovereignty is operationalized when indigenous groups exercise their own self-determined designs and uses of mediums and media to address their particular needs and desires. Therefore, Tecno-Sovereignty is comprised of the social, cultural, political, and economic effects of indigenous technology. This dissertation, a compendium of essays, presents an indigenous theory of media and sovereignty: defining a vision of Tecno-Sovereignty; arguing the purpose and importance of Tecno-Sovereignty; demonstrating how Tecno-Sovereignty is operationalized; and revealing capacity-building recommendations for the further development of indigenous technological sovereignty. Additionally, this research, through an exhibition of indigenous convolution media, calls attention to indigenous praxes of art, technology, and learning that are both grounded by and support the theories proposed in this research.