Although this term has a long history, I want to focus here on how it has been employed and adapted by White Earth Anishinaabe writer and literary theorist, Gerald Vizenor. “Survivance”, in this sense, names the conjunction between resistance and survival – calling attention to the fact that not only have Indigenous peoples survived the genocidal ambitions of settler colonialism, but have continued to enliven their cultures in fluid, critical and generative ways. The term thus resists the static overtones of “survival” and instead emphasises the ways in which Indigenous peoples have created counter-poses/positions to those that are marked out for them by the settler-state through stereotypes, popular culture and national mythology.
This is a very passing attempt at expanding (not defining) the term “survivance”. For a more in-depth explanation, see below:
Vizenor, Gerald Robert, Fugitive Poses: Native American Indian Scenes of Absence and Presence, The Abraham Lincoln Lecture Series (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998)
Vizenor, Gerald Robert, ed., Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008)
Vizenor, Gerald Robert, Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance, Bison Books print (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010)