UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The politics of immobility in Leonard Peltier’s Prison Writings and Tomson Highway’s Rose Paul, Cameron Norman


My thesis examines themes of immobility in Anishinabe-Lakota activist Leonard Peltier’s Prison Writings and Woods Cree author-playwright Tomson Highway’s musical-drama Rose. I perform a cross-cultural, as well as cross-disciplinary, analysis of how these two texts critique the racial, spatial, and sexual politics that inhere in mobility and, in the case of automobiles, its frequent dependencies on petro-resource extraction. Rarely addressed as a project of ecological intervention, the numerous accounts of broken-down automobiles throughout Prison Writings present an indictment of both the immobilizing socio-economic dispossession of Indigenous communities and petro-dependency’s particularly destructive impact on their traditional lands. By depicting the traumatic effects of intra-tribal gender violence on the women of Wasaychigan Hill Indian Reserve, Rose both highlights and critiques the various regimes of mobility continuing to inhere within both the Canadian reserve system as a settler-colonial project and Canada’s broader adherence to international neoliberal policies, such as the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Instead of appealing to dominant neoliberal narratives of unfettered mobility’s emancipatory potential, I argue Prison Writings and Rose collectively address scenes of apparent immobility and restraint that undermine such fetishizations of the mobile.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International