A new essay by Assistant Professor Kees Lokman published in Scenario Journal examines the the complex web of colonial and decolonial relations shaped by the Missouri River. 

“The Missouri River Basin: Water, Power, Decolonization, and Design” focuses on ways in which designers can begin to grapple with the violence enacted through colonial water infrastructures in the Missouri River, as well as ways they can envision alternative futures where water—in its spiritual, material, and legal dimensions—becomes an agent of resistance that can shape new human and more-than-human relationships.

The essay includes a discussion of work conducted as part of the landscape architecture vertical studio, “Fluid Geographies: Liquid Plans for the Missouri River Basin,” led by Lokman in the fall of 2018. The studio engaged the themes mentioned above and speculated on alternative water resource management strategies that acknowledge the rich histories and stories tied to the Missouri River Basin. As a collection, these project begin to rethink the role of design in relation to notions of agency, sovereignty, relationality, and spatial justice. Bringing these discussions consistently to the foreground will help foster much-needed engagement with the histories, actualities, and futures of Indigenous territories.