Announcing the 14th annual Labriola Book Award winners

Published May. 03, 2022

“Pollution Is Colonialism” by Max Liboiron is the winner of the 14th annual Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award.

The honorable mention goes to Helen Olsen Agger for “Dadibaajin: Returning Home Through Narrative.”

Pollution Is Colonialism book cover
“Pollution Is Colonialism” by Max Liboiron

An award reception will be scheduled in the fall of 2022.

Liboiron (Michif-settler, they/them) is an Associate Professor of Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. “Pollution is Colonialism” was published in 2021 by Duke University Press and presents a framework for understanding scientific research methods as practices that can align with or against colonialism with a specific focus on plastic pollution.

“Liboiron's scholarship expands our understanding of the ongoing climate crisis as being a consequence of the colonization of Indigenous lands, and how the pollution generated by the global economy signals, not only the contamination of the environment, but also continuing expropriation of stolen land,” said David Martinez (Akimel O'odham/Hia Ced O'odham/Mexican), associate professor of American Indian Studies and chair of the Labriola Book Award selection committee. “Liboiron's book is a perfect example of scholarship as activism. By appealing to the general reader with non-technical language, ‘Pollution Is Colonialism’ has the potential of changing the debate over climate change by making it an Indigenous rights issue, which is to say a human rights issue. For, as the Indigenous communities go, so does everyone else.”  

At Memorial University, Liboiron directs the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR). CLEAR develops feminist and anti-colonial methodologies in the natural sciences that foreground land relations to study plastic pollution. Additionally, Liboiron has played leading roles in the establishment of the field of Discard Studies (the social study of waste and wasting), the Global Open Science Hardware Movement (GOSH) and is a figure in feminist science studies, Indigenous science and technology studies, and justice-oriented science methods.

Dadibaajim: Returning Home Through Narrative book cover
“Dadibaajim: Returning Home Through Narrative” by Helen Olsen Agger

The honorable mention is awarded to Helen Olsen Agger’s (Anishinaabe) “Dadibaajim: Returning Home Through Narrative” published in 2021 by the University of Manitoba Press. The Dadibaajim narratives are a critical Anishinaabe methodology for teaching and learning, and Agger documents and reclaims the history, identity and inherent entitlement of the Namegosibii Anishinaabeg to the care, use, and occupation of their Trout Lake homelands.

Agger holds a PhD in Native Studies from the University of Manitoba. She is the author of “Following Nimishoomis: The Trout Lake History of Dedibaayaanimanook Sarah Keesick Olsen.”

“These Labriola Book Awards highlight the depth and breadth of Indigenous scholarship being published today exemplified by Max Liboiron and Helen Agger and their work to elevate climate and environmental issues that affect Indigenous communities and our planet,” said Alex Soto, Director of the Labriola Center. “These book awards are one way the Labriola Center continues to support Indigenous scholarship and knowledge systems at ASU and beyond. We look forward to the reception event later this year.”

Founded in 2008, The Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award is a national competition with book submissions from numerous academic presses. Sponsored by the Labriola Center and the ASU Library, the award recognizes the best scholarship for advancing the field of American Indian and Indigenous studies.  

The judging committee consists of three distinguished ASU faculty; David Martinez (committee chair) from American Indian Studies, Henry Quintero from the Department of English and James Blasingame from the Department of English.

See the full list of past Labriola Book Award winners.