From the Gold Rush to the Cryptocurrency Code Rush?: Communication of Alternative Currency in Indigenous Communities


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines colonial dynamics that manifest in US currency systems and counter-stories of Indigenous systems that resist them. In the past decade, humans experienced what is being framed as a payment revolution considerably enabled by communication technologies. Indigenous peoples consistently innovate methods to store memories, transmit trust, and create reciprocity, yet are largely erased from histories of newer digital currency. This project addresses the problem and articulates how currencies form small parts of much larger stories of Indigenous resistance. Through decolonizing methods, “From the Gold Rush to the Cryptocurrency Code Rush?...” traces the integration of land-based and digital currency from 1853-2020. Indigenous peoples always challenged colonialism, but it is now through digital socio-technical innovation and cultural choices around currency.