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Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


In the United States of America today, what Eastern Woodlands nations call Turtle Island, who is permitted to identify as Indigenous is politically and emotionally-charged and often hostilely enforced—by Native and non-Native Americans. This lingering quagmire of colonization carries with it the psychospiritual baggage of unresolved, intergenerational trauma that continues to shape every facet of American society ever more strongly, as culture-shapers push harder and harder to keep the colonial experiences of Indigenous peoples out of educational curricula and the American imagination of who we are as a people. The more Native American history is hidden, the easier it is for factions to invent and enforce colonial ways of conceptualizing Indigenous identity. In addition to this, fighting among Indigenous peoples about identity stains weekly headlines of Indian Country Today, the largest international online newspaper about happenings in Native nations and communities. Terms like “full-blood” and “mixed-blood/part Indian” can be found in most articles, as blood-quantum has become the means by which Native people are expected to define themselves. Online websites staffed by Indigenous people touting lists of “real Indians” and “fake Indians” abound on the Internet. The topic of Government-Issued Indians with Red Cards who have Fed-Wreck (federal recognition) is a colonial process that harms Native peoples and communities, and many traditional Native people speak out against it. What some Traditionals argue is that treaty rights and Indigenous sovereignty can be honored without the need to vet individual Native Americans on blood quantum. Primary among these voices are those Indigenous writers who are re-shaping the colonial narrative of what it means to be mixed-blood in their poetry, autobiographical essays, and fiction writing. (excerpt)

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