January 1, 2021

Future Ancestral Technologies

By Cannupa Hanska Luger

We Live

As the future of our planet is threatened by capitalism’s continued devastation, new strategies of survivance are needed. With global instability, widespread financial crisis and unaffordable housing, our lifestyles must change.”

Science fiction has the power to shape collective thinking and help to imagine the future on a global scale. Cannupa Hanska Luger’s Future Ancestral Technologies is Indigenous science fiction. It is a methodology, a practice, a way of futurism, rooted in tradition. Through installation and land-based work, the series develops an ongoing narrative in which Indigenous people harness technology to live nomadically in hyper-attunement to land and water. The project also prototypes designs for objects and their use, tests ritual, and conducts ceremony, advancing new materials and new modes of thinking. Moving sci-fi theory into practice, Future Ancestral Technologies conjures innovative life-based solutions for a highly adaptable lifestyle that lives with the land, not off the land.

Activating customary craft and skill sets to create futuristic potential, Future Ancestral Technologies imagines and enacts a possible world in which Indigenous cultures thrive in reverential coexistence with the land and all its various life forms for generations to come.

These are not ancient artifacts.
These are not culturally specific objects.
These will not be found in the historical record.
These do not shine light on a lost civilization.
These were not dug from pits by devoted scholars.
These were not stolen from burial grounds.
These were not gifts from a fascinated collector.
These are not donations from friends of the museum.
These are trapped tools for our current battle.
These are made of earth to slay our earth eating monsters.
These fit in our hands. These rest on our shoulders.
The instructions for use are embedded in our genetic memory.
These are needed now and so are we.

In this time we must remember our belonging to the earth.
We must re-establish reverence for our land, rather than resource.
We must recall the fact that we are this place.
We must fight. We must survive.


Cannupa Hanska Luger is a New Mexico based multidisciplinary artist who uses social collaboration in response to timely and site-specific issues. Raised on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, he is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota and European descent. Luger produces multi-pronged projects that take many forms—through monumental installations that incorporate ceramics, video, sound, fiber, steel, and repurposed materials, Luger interweaves performance and political action to communicate stories about 21st Century Indigeneity. This work provokes diverse audiences to engage with Indigenous peoples and values apart from the lens of colonial social structuring, and often presents a call to action to protect land from capitalist exploits. He combines critical cultural analysis with dedication and respect for the diverse materials, environments, and communities he engages.