Protecting Oak Flat: Narratives Of Survivance As Observed Through Digital Activism

Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst


American Indians are increasingly using social media/social network platforms as a tool to influence policy through social change. The activist group Apache Stronghold represents a case of American Indians utilising social media tools to protect Oak Flat and influence federal Indian policy. Oak Flat is sacred Apache land located in Superior, Arizona. United States legislators transferred Oak Flat to the mining company Resolution Copper as part of the omnibus National Defense Authorization Act of 2015. Qualitative analysis of social media content and advocacy tactics – specifically through use of timeline and digital ethnography – of Apache Stronghold from 2015-2016 reveal the interrelated nature of on-the-ground efforts, online efforts, solidarity efforts, and legislative support efforts. In sum, these efforts express narratives of survivance, healing, and a future orientation, as a unique dimension of social change.


American Indian; activism; decolonizing methodologies; survivance; social media; Internet studies; activism

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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