Language use in Indigenous-authored television series


  • Anna Whitney University of Michigan
  • Ashley McDermott
  • Therese Cerdan
  • Samantha Bloomstein
  • Meredith Randall
  • Monika Bednarek
  • Barbra A. Meek



semiotics, media, land acknowledgment, Indigenous


For much of telecinematic history depictions of Indigenous characters and languages have instantiated racist stereotypes that perpetuate White, colonial frameworks. However, a new generation of Indigenous writers, directors, producers, and actors use scripted performances to illuminate, contest, and reconfigure these representations, and ideally provoke new interpretations. Our paper examines how Indigenous screen creatives address the linguistic and representational erasures of dominant White, colonizing frameworks through the restructuring and performance of a (sub)genre of scripted speech: fictionalized land acknowledgements. Using discourse analysis, we examine land acknowledgements across five Indigenous-authored television series (two in the U.S. and three in Australia), focusing on how they diversify and complicate mainstream characterizations and bring in Indigenous discourses and perspectives. By “bending the rules,” characters (and authors) maintain the (sub)genre, but regain authority over it through such discursive refashioning. Our analysis explores how Indigenous screen creatives use language to transform, critique and/or reappropriate this (sub)genre. Ultimately, our research contributes to ongoing conversations about Indigenous language, discourse, and media’s role in transforming societal norms and structural injustices.




How to Cite

Whitney, Anna, Ashley McDermott, Therese Cerdan, Samantha Bloomstein, Meredith Randall, Monika Bednarek, and Barbra A. Meek. 2024. “Language Use in Indigenous-Authored Television Series”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5702.