Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
My project blends Burkean theory with Indigenous rhetoric to argue that the counter- story of Awake proposes an ecology of transcendence to make sense of human-nature relationships. I wanted to analyze Awake A Dream From Standing Rock. The documentary is explicitly about Indigenous peoples. This documentary tells the story of the peaceful protests and resistance led by Native people at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation or Lakota Tribe in North Dakota. The activists were protecting the water otherwise known as water protectors/warriors from the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The assembly of DAPL is intended to carry perforated oil through independent (indigenous) land and go under the Missouri River. However, the problem is, the Missouri River is used as a water source for the Lakota Tribe (Standing Rock) and 18 million other people living in the United States. The documentary includes interviews with protestors and follows the controversy surrounding the pipeline. Moreover, this project operates under environmental rhetoric because of the symbols and frames used to speak about the environment. I link Burkean terminology to Indigenous concepts to gain a better understanding of how we come to know and care about the environment through our symbolic choices, terministic screens, and representations of human-nature relationships. I argue that the documentary invites viewers to feel eco-guilt, to environmental loss and pollution, but offers an ecology of transcendence as a route to redemption. In my analysis I focused on two different metaphors that were pervasive and important rhetorical features: the metaphors of war and the dream. In examining these metaphors, I pay attention to how the film selects and deflects aspects of Western and Indigenous ideologies to promote new understandings for the audience.
Burkean theory; Indigenous rhetoric; Ecology of transcendence
Communication | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Law
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Kahn, Alyssa, "Environmental Rhetoric and an Ecology of Transcendence: A Rhetorical Criticism of Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock" (2021). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 4250.
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