Shelby Mayes

An Analysis of Matriarchy and Afro-Indigenous Spiritual Traditions of the Trans-Atlantic Diaspora

I seek to study various forms of African and Indigenous spiritual practice as a means of resistance against colonial rule. My research will historicize how slavery, colonization, and Catholicism impacted these spiritual knowledges, and how these practices served as a means of resistance and survivance for African and Indigenous peoples. I will concentrate my studies on New Orleans, Louisiana and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, focusing primarily on the traditional spiritual practice of these regions. My research will analyze the similarities and differences that exist within the African and Indigenous practices of each culture, how Afro-Indigenous women conduct these practices, and how these practices are influenced by their geographic location and socio-political history. My research will also examine how Afro-Indigenous spiritual practices serve to challenge colonialism and patriarchy, maintain cultural livelihood, and imagine modalities of liberation.