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Mark My Words

Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping Our Nations

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    Mark My Words
    Book Description:

    Dominant history would have us believe that colonialism belongs to a previous era that has long come to an end. But as Native people become mobile, reservation lands become overcrowded and the state seeks to enforce means of containment, closing its borders to incoming, often indigenous, immigrants. In Mark My Words, Mishuana Goeman traces settler colonialism as an enduring form of gendered spatial violence, demonstrating how it persists in the contemporary context of neoliberal globalization. The book argues that it is vital to refocus the efforts of Native nations beyond replicating settler models of territory, jurisdiction, and race. Through an examination of twentieth-century Native women's poetry and prose, Goeman illuminates how these works can serve to remap settler geographies and center Native knowledges. She positions Native women as pivotal to how our nations, both tribal and nontribal, have been imagined and mapped, and how these women play an ongoing role in decolonization. In a strong and lucid voice, Goeman provides close readings of literary texts, including those of E. Pauline Johnson, Esther Belin, Joy Harjo, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Heid Erdrich. In addition, she places these works in the framework of U.S. and Canadian Indian law and policy. Her charting of women's struggles to define themselves and their communities reveals the significant power in all of our stories.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3935-3
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction: Gendered Geographies and Narrative Markings
    (pp. 1-40)

    This project would begin before I was even cognizant of the power of place and its relationship to colonialism, race, and gender. Yet, even as young children, many of us learn the constraints and limitations of the socially constructed spaces we find ourselves in. While I may not have known the history of how reservations came to be or how colonial governments enacted power in that space, I was deeply aware of the difference when I passed the lines of trees that mark the territories between off-reservation and on-reservation. I knew, on a deeply emotional level, that this was sovereign...

  4. 1 “Remember What You Are”: Gendering Citizenship, the Indian Act, and (Re)mapping the Settler Nation-State
    (pp. 41-86)

    Early debates around the statutes of the Canadian Confederation’s Indian Act coincide with the height of Mohawk writer E. Pauline Johnson’s (1861–1913) literary career. Johnson was born into an intricate matrix of emerging borders. Along racial lines, she was born into her father’s aristocratic Mohawk family and her mother’s well-to-do upper-class English background; she was born between an era of developing Canadian colonies and a Canada that was forming a commonwealth ruled by those of English background; she was born a woman of the Iroquois Confederacy that for centuries recognized a woman’s power of autonomy and women’s centrality to...

  5. 2 (Re)routing Native Mobility, Uprooting Settler Spaces in the Poetry of Esther Belin
    (pp. 87-118)

    The politics of place for Native peoples is very tricky both socially and politically. While conceptions of Native identity are legislated differently depending on governing nation-states, tribal government systems, histories, and cultural differences, they share in common spatialized tendencies; identity, social relations, and politics are often conceived, represented, and determined as geographically and historically situated and bound to a particular community. As Philip Deloria reminds us, “fixity, control, visibility, productivity, and, most importantly, docility” were the main objectives in reservation containment and part and parcel of supporting the “colonial dream” of the settler state.¹ Even though set aside as a...

  6. 3 From the Stomp Grounds on Up: Indigenous Movement and the Politics of Globalization
    (pp. 119-156)

    What happens when the poet takes over the cartographer’s tools? More interestingly, what happens when the poet is from a group of people who were categorized, colonized, and subjugated in the wake of the colonial moment and implementation of modern conceptions of space? What might the poet say when she sees the detriments of colonial and imperial mapping—containment, restriction, restructuring, and erasure of cultures—continue and live in the buzz of a city or stream of nightly news in short sound bites ordering the people of the world through language and metaphors, the very tools of poets? In her...

  7. 4 “Someday a Story Will Come”: Rememorative Futures
    (pp. 157-202)

    Excerpts from historic almanacs, diaries, travel journals, and other writings by explorers and men of the frontier are examples of the written colonial world that was and still is instrumental in mapping the often-violent fantasies of American masculinities, frontiers, and borders. These itineraries of violence in their cartographic forms, literature, and almanac writing were tools used to shape the world we have come to know as the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Within these writings that circulate on a global scale, Indigenous peoples hold a particular place in the construction of global economies; they mark the settler colonial narrative as...

  8. Conclusion: “She Can Map Herself Like a Country She Discovers”
    (pp. 203-208)

    In writing about Occupy Wall Street movement, Joanne Barker recalls the particular history of Wall Street and its relationship to claiming Lenape land through enforcing settler forms of spatial constructions. She reminds us that the street itself was named after the physical wall built by the Dutch to claim the land base of Mana hata and to keep the Lenape and their then allies, the English, out. However, the Dutch would lose their foothold, and “the English would be defeated by the Americans. The Americans would preserve ‘Wall Street’—and all of Manhattan—as their own.”¹ This is similar to...

  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 209-212)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 213-234)
  11. Index
    (pp. 235-246)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-248)