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19 - Mapping the Future: Indigenous Feminism

from Part III - Native American Renaissance (Post-1960s)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2020

Melanie Benson Taylor
Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
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Louise Erdrich’s 2010 novel Shadow Tag, a story about an artist who obsessively paints his Native wife, emphasizes the connections among gender, colonialism, and representation at the heart of indigenous feminism. In the novel, this essay argues, the relationship between Gil and Irene, along with the ways that Gil paints Irene’s body, underscores the centrality of gender in colonialism, the ways that patriarchy has served as both instrument and rationale for colonial processes that carry particular consequences for indigenous women. The novel thus gestures towards the consequent necessity of feminism in anticolonial projects and scrutinizes the role of representation in colonial power and Native resistance. In Erdrich’s story, contests over power and possession unfold in part as contests over representation, and by illustrating the ways that representation is bound up with social power, Shadow Tag ultimately reflects on the political possibilities of Native American literature itself.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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