Critically Sovereign: Indigenous Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies
Joanne Barker is Professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University, the author of Native Acts: Law, Recognition, and Cultural Authenticity, also published by Duke University Press, and the editor of Sovereignty Matters: Locations of Contestation and Possibility in Indigenous Struggles for Self-Determination.
This chapter offers provisional thoughts on the collisions and collusions of queer theory and colonialism within critical Indigenous studies through a close reading of queer theory’s subjectlessness, Samuel R. Delaney’s short story “Aye, and Gomorrah,” and the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia on antimiscegenation law. It argues that Indigenous critiques of colonialism challenge social normativities in ways that are deeply misunderstood—or dismissed—by queer anti-normativity efforts as identity politics at its worst. This inadvertently refutes an Indigenous analytics that insists on locating Indigenous bodies and desires in the contexts of Indigenous nations and territories, refiguring Indigenous analytics as merely advancing colonialism and its normativities. Examining how Indigenous analytics reject colonial formations and their ideological architects, the chapter unpacks the Loving decision to show how it reserves an Indigeneity that disavows Black-Indigenous lineage for a liberal tale of Whiteness—and queerness in subjectlessness—to protect the normativities of same-sex marriage that undergird a liberal colonial state.