Topic:Queer Native Studies- Cofitachequi and Jane Johnston Schoolcraft

Paper details:we’ll be looking at a set of texts that take up questions of Native gender and sexuality in the colonial period (largely in the eighteenth century). As we will see, settler colonialism operates to impose an increasingly narrow definition of intimacy — one premised on a gender binary and on nuclear family structures, which refuse and deny Indigenous third-gender and Two-Spirit systems, as well as extended and matrilineal kinship formations. Turning to Native gender and sexual practices poses a pretty acute methodological problem, however, as Qwo-Li Driskill and Deborah Miranda discuss in their essays. Much of what we know about Native identity and life in the colonial period and the nineteenth-century is mediated through settler texts — settlers wrote the narratives in their own languages within their own genres and publication networks and with white readers in mind. This rhetorical and print context indelibly shapes how Native gender and sexuality is imagined. What Miranda and Driskill are asking in different ways in their essays, then, is about reading: How can we read colonial archives against the grain? Are there ways we can find or trace Native queer and Two-Spirit life in archives produced under such violent conditions?
For Schoolcraft, make sure that you read “To a Pine Tree” and her creation stories (especially “The Origin of Corn”).

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