"\'I Give You Back\': Indigenous Women Writing to Survive"


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"\'I Give You Back\': Indigenous Women Writing to Survive"

  1. 1. "I Give You Back": Indigenous Women Writing to SurviveArchuleta, Elizabeth.Studies in American Indian Literatures, Volume 18, Number 4,Winter 2006, pp. 88-114 (Article)Published by University of Nebraska PressDOI: 10.1353/ail.2007.0000 For additional information about this article http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ail/summary/v018/18.4archuleta.html Access Provided by Arizona State University at 12/14/11 5:06PM GMT
  2. 2. “I Give You Back” Indigenous Women Writing to Survive elizabeth archuletaThe University of Alberta recently hosted a conference calledIndigenous Women and Feminism: Culture, Activism, and Politics.1Although the call for papers stated that “indigenous women and fem-inist issues remain undertheorized within contemporary feministcritical theory,” a colleague reminded me that Indigenous womenand feminist issues have not been undertheorized, at least not inour own communities; we have always theorized our lives.2 Afterconsidering her standpoint, I recognized how the academy has ledIndigenous women to believe that the various ways we use languageto interpret the world or produce knowledge are not acts of theoriz-ing, a tendency that points to problems in the way academics thinkabout knowledge production. Because mainstream research has notused Indigenous women’s intellectual traditions—constructed andutilized within our own communities—are we to believe that theways in which we make meaning of our lives or understand the worldare not theory? Research methods are socially constructed, and com-munities decide what constitutes knowledge. Therefore, Indigenouswomen should not accept the notion that our rhetorical practicesdo not constitute sites of knowledge production or that we cannotuse our own words and experiences to reconceptualize the processesand epistemological bases of our research to create an Indigenouswomen’s feminist theory. This article corrects the assumption that “indigenous womenand feminist issues remain undertheorized” by demonstrating thatwe do theorize our lives but that we theorize differently, meaning,Indigenous women do not rely solely on Western tools, worldviews,
  3. 3. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 89or epistemologies as methods of interpretation. Indigenous womenreject paradigms that ask us to disassociate ourselves from our livedexperiences before we can claim to have the skills and knowledge totheorize. We believe theory comes not from abstract written ideasbut from the collective knowledge of Indigenous women whose liveshave not informed feminist theories, methods, or policy concernsand whose lived experiences mainstream feminists will continue toignore unless Indigenous women question and deconstruct existingmethodologies. What are Indigenous women claiming as differentfrom existing paradigms? An examination of Indigenous women’sprimary rhetorical practices demonstrates that communication andsharing through writing constitutes an important location whereIndigenous women theorize our lives, a claim that raises additionalquestions. What does it mean to theorize, what tools does one useto theorize, and who is given the authority to theorize? Theorizinginvolves analyzing facts and their relationship to one another.Therefore, Indigenous women’s work that produces knowledge basedon one’s lived experience is a form of theorizing. One tool Indigenouswomen use to theorize is writing, which provides a space for womento make sense of the world and their place in it. Additionally,Indigenous women’s rhetorical practices produce knowledge thatCherríe Moraga refers to as “theory in the flesh,” a concept thatgrounds struggles for knowledge in women’s bodies. Consequently, ifIndigenous feminist scholars hope to empower Indigenous peoples,we have a responsibility to acknowledge and integrate the many in-sights offered by Indigenous women, meaning we should recognizethat everyone has the authority to theorize. An Indigenous feministtheory also presents strategies that empower, which includes namingthe enemy, “reinventing the enemy’s language,” and writing to sur-vive.3 An Indigenous feminist theory also reveals overarching char-acteristics such as responsibility, the promotion of healing, and a callfor survival, all features this article explores. reinventing the enemy’s languageAnalyzing Indigenous women’s appropriation, reinvention, and useof English and writing as rhetorical sites of power allows us to be-
  4. 4. 90 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4gin conceptualizing alternative methodologies for articulating anIndigenous feminist theory. Indigenous women demonstrate thattheory happens when we speak out and voice opposition to oppres-sion and the many injustices we have experienced. An Indigenousfeminist ethos of responsibility compels Indigenous women to writeand speak to ensure survival, to empower, and, most of all, to heal,but what if our only language is Spanish, French, or English? What ifthe only language we know is the colonizers’ language? For too long,Indigenous peoples have been led to believe that English and writingare our enemies. It is common knowledge that Indigenous languagesare dying out, and English now constitutes the first language for manyof us. Therefore, if we continue to perceive English as an enemy andwriting as an activity that make us “less than Indian,” then manywill be left without a language or a position of power from which tospeak; many will be rendered silent even by some from within theirown communities. We need to challenge the belief that we are “lessthan Indian” if we speak or write in English. Rather, we should seethis charge as a strategy of domination, a method to silence voicesthat might question or resist the status quo in Indigenous or non-Indigenous communities. According to Janice Acoose (Sakimay/Saulteaux and MarivalMétis), “recognizing that language can and does shape our experi-ences, it is vitally important that Indigenous women appropriate theEnglish language in order to represent our experiences.”4 Joy Harjo(Mvskoke/Creek) embraces language in general, claiming that thecenturies of war in which Indigenous peoples have engaged and inwhich we continue to fight have left many of us using the “‘enemy[sic] language’ with which to tell our truths, to sing, to rememberourselves during these troubled times.” Likewise, Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Koenpul/Australian Aborigine) notes, “learning to speakEnglish and mimicking the customs of the colonizer does not fun-damentally transform subjectivities that have been socialized withinIndigenous domains.”5 She reminds us that we have had to acquirenew knowledge in order to survive in circumstances not of ourown choosing. Therefore, acquiring Western knowledge or speak-ing English does not mean we have become assimilated. Rather,
  5. 5. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 91she states, it points to Indigenous subjectivity as multiple. Acoose,Moreton-Robinson, and Harjo encourage Indigenous women “tospeak, at whatever the cost,” because to speak and to use language“is to become empowered rather than victimized by destruction,”ensuring our long-term survival.6 As a child, Berenice Levchuk (Navajo) grasped the significanceof language when she interpreted between Navajo and English forher parents as well as “traders, teachers, missionaries, and others.”Translating taught her the importance of accuracy when movingbetween two languages where “barriers to communication” can re-sult from “inaccurate information and misinterpretations based onbiased beliefs.” She notes, Over the years, non-native so-called experts have been respon- sible for putting into print and sustaining far too much flawed writing and beliefs concerning native thought and symbolism. It is crucial that our native children and youth be given correct information about where they came from and who they are.7While writing and English remain suspect, revisioning and reinvent-ing the enemy’s language emphasize that the power of English lies inour hands. For Indigenous women, English often reflects the powerof language to heal, to regenerate, and to recreate, correcting misin-formation and stereotypes long advocated by outsiders. Acoose uses English to convey Indigenous peoples’ reality; shewrites in English because she finds that it “encourages [the] re-creation, renaming, and empowerment of both Indigenous peoplesand non-Indigenous peoples.”8 Connie Fife (Cree) reinforces the no-tion that language does not necessarily have to be an enemy. Shecontends that the written word “can convey the resilience of our sur-vival.”9 Our use of English reflects a “both/and” standpoint rooted inour everyday experiences of being Indigenous and speaking English.Reinventing the enemy’s language signals our refusal to be definedby anyone else but ourselves. In spite of the power language holds, colonization has effec-tively silenced many Indigenous women. Lee Maracle (Salish/Cree)connects this silence with the trauma that has accompanied colo-
  6. 6. 92 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4nization, and through her writing she helps women still afraid tospeak to recognize the root cause of their fear. She believes that“being colonized is the internalization of the need to remain invis-ible.”10 The trauma of colonization and threats of violence againstaboriginal women created fear in Maracle, who admits that, at onetime, she tried to remain invisible until another young Indigenouswoman showed her that she needed to accept her responsibility as anIndigenous woman, speak out against injustice, and become a visiblerole model for younger women.11 Lila Tabobondung believes far toomany Indigenous women have remained silent, insisting, “it is ourresponsibility to speak up because it is our children’s future that isat stake.”12 When Indigenous women speak out against oppressionand become visible we politicize our continued existence and signalto the United States, Canada, Australia, and other colonized nationsthat assimilation or continued threats of violence have not workeddespite more than five hundred years of trying to erase, ignore, orkeep us silent. Although each wave of assimilationist tactics has cre-ated new struggles for Indigenous peoples, Kim Anderson (Cree/Métis) reminds us, “we may be struggling, but we are still here,” anaffirmation that celebrates our survival.13 naming the enemyAlthough Indigenous women face numerous enemies from the pastand into the present, we realize that healing and empowerment can-not take place until we identify the many sources of our oppression.Speaking out and naming the enemy reveals the central role languagecan play in our empowerment and continued existence. Maracle un-derstands that before we can focus on resurgence and recovery, weneed to identify outside forces that have created our current con-ditions. As Scott Lyons (Ojibwe-Bullhead Clan) notes, the culturalviolence against Indigenous peoples “was in many ways located atthe scene of writing.”14 Thus, through writing Indigenous womenidentify the poisons that threaten to destroy us. To promote survivalwe must name our enemies. According to Harjo, “the moment weare able to identify the source of pain, [the enemy], we are free of
  7. 7. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 93its power over us.”15 Even Indigenous women’s scholarly researchidentifies enemies that poison our communities. Kim Andersondescribes her book A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing NativeWomanhood as “a gift to Native women, children, and men” becauseit contributes “to an evolving scholarly and popular body of workthat is naming the poisons that have infiltrated Native womanhood,documenting Native female paths of resistance and defining a posi-tive Native female identity.”16 While Acoose describes her attemptsto name the enemy as a process that often left her “angry, frustrated,and confused,” she admits that it eventually led to her “liberationand empowerment”: At numerous times throughout my journey, I felt overwhelmed by negative feelings, and confused because my own way of see- ing, being, knowing, and understanding the world . . . which has sustained my ancestors for thousands of years, had con- tinuously been assaulted by the canadian nation’s ideological forces.17Her writing became a way for her to name the enemy, resist it, andcritically examine the ideological forces that have sustained it. The phrase “naming the enemy” points to the war metaphorscommon in Indigenous women’s writing. Characterizing lived ex-periences through metaphors of invasion and attack and using thelanguage of war and colonization provides a model for Indigenouswomen to reflect on their peoples’ ongoing struggles with the UnitedStates. At the same time, the use of war metaphors serves a politicalfunction because it implies that enemies with battle plans and strate-gies for victory must exist. For Paul Gunn Allen, War stories seem to me to capture all the traditional themes of Indian women’s narratives: the themes of love and separa- tion, loss, and most of all, of continuance. Certainly war has been the major motif of Indian life over the past five centuries, so it is perfectly fitting that we write out of our experience as women at war, women who endure during wartime, women who spend each day aware that we live in a war zone.18
  8. 8. 94 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4As Allen suggests, wars represent loss, but they also illustrate our re-siliency and capacity to survive. The enemies Indigenous women face are numerous, but we namethem, nevertheless, as a sign that we recognize them and to identifythem for later generations. Scott Kayla Morrison (Choctaw) claimsAllen prepared her for war by naming an enemy others have facedand would continue to face. Morrison, who named racism as herfirst enemy, describes her foray through law school as an act of war: At law school, I felt prepared to begin walking the red road (the Choctaw concept of going to war). I knew my weapons. Paula Gunn Allen named our enemies: colonization, assimilation, acculturation. Naming the enemy is powerful. To name the enemy allows no room for interpretation or misunderstand- ing. The first enemy I named was called racism. . . . Naming the enemy of racism, and naming my weapons to combat this enemy of hate, was a powerful experience.19Because Allen felt compelled to identify and make visible several en-emies, Morrison was prepared to encounter them and empoweredto name them. Words were Morrison’s weapon, and words preparedher for combat. Harjo identifies the enemy as “hatred . . . self-doubt,poverty, alcoholism, depression, and violence against women, amongothers,” insisting that “to speak . . . is to become empowered ratherthan victimized by destruction.”20 The war is not over, so those of uswho have survived battles, who have seen and named the enemy, areresponsible for preparing the next generation to go to war. Cartography is another common metaphor Indigenous women useto describe our experiences, and many describe the process of survivalin terms of following maps, paths, or markers as if they too were pre-paring the way for others who would follow them. Harjo and GloriaBird (Spokane) describe their anthology as a product of Indigenouswomen’s “ongoing journey,” and they refer to Indigenous women’s di-alogue as a “path” to empowerment.21 Kimberly Blaeser (Anishnabe)describes Indigenous women’s writing as a journey of homecoming:“Whatever mystery we are exploring, we tell our way, and in the tell-ing find our way. That search called writing leads us home.”22 Tiffany
  9. 9. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 95Midge (Lakota) also describes her writing as a personal journey thatleads to healing. “In a very true and literal sense,” she says, my writing became the center of my salvation. I’ve found much peace through the creative process by risking to speak of the stories that strike hard into the locked internal landscapes— the scariest cupboards—of my being. Through releasing them, I’ve learned the true meaning of forgiveness.23 The first path many Indigenous women take as they begin writingleads to the past and to their grandmothers’ words and to future gen-erations. Yvonne Lamore-Choate (Quechan/Mojave) describes hergrandmother as her “rock, the one stable person in [her] life [she]could depend on.”24 Anderson identifies Indigenous elders as a col-lective voice she uses to “map out a resistance that might be usefulto other people,” and she “draw[s] upon . . . [Indigenous] women’sstories to create this map.”25 Maracle describes the grandmother im-age in I Am Woman as the multiple women she has known in the pastwhose lives she describes as “a composite of the reality of our historyand present existence.”26 Her poem, “Creation,” conveys her personaljourney, following a path back in time and looking into the future: . . . the farther backward in time that I travel the more grandmothers and the farther forward the more grandchildren I am obligated to both.27For guidance, Maracle looks to grandmothers for examples on howto live her life, and she looks to future generations as the motiva-tion for her current activities, reflecting her sense of responsibility tothem. Her legacy of survival becomes their hope for the future, giv-ing her work a purpose. Anderson also presents in her book’s dedica-tion her sense of responsibility for generations to come. She writes,“To all the Aboriginal baby girls being born this minute, this bookis for you. With recognition and thanks for the tremendous work ofyour grandmothers, who have so lovingly provided the way.”28
  10. 10. 96 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4 Indigenous women look to the past for guidance on how weshould repair the broken threads of our lives. They refer to journeysas backward-looking in order to see what has shaped us.29 In look-ing back, we find knowledge and traditions that have sustained ourancestors. Haunani-Kay Trask uses her native Hawaiian language toexplain how the past represents the future for her people: “We faceour past: ka w mamua—the time before. The past holds our wis-dom and our k puna (elders’) knowledge. As our culture tells us, weare guided in the present on the path so well followed by our ances-tors in the past.”30 Emma Lee Warrior (Blackfoot) disregards adviceto keep her eyes fixed on the future, saying, “I’ve been advised to‘look to the future,’ but my head keeps turning around to the wis-dom back there, away from 7-Elevens and twenty-four-hour videostores.”31 Warrior suggests that modern conveniences have destroyedsomething significant for which she has been looking. Ruth Roessel(Diné) identifies this something as the strength Indigenous womenhave lost or stand to lose by following non-Indigenous paths. She in-sists, “We must look backward at our strength, which is in our tradi-tions, so that we can look forward with confidence—not fear.”32 Despite the past’s significance and the importance of followingour ancestors’ ways, Indigenous women also caution us to look to thepast with a critical eye. Anderson and Bonita Lawrence (Mi’kmaw)warn us to avoid putting elders on pedestals, because this generationof elders was harmed.33 They also caution us about reclaiming tra-ditions and rebuilding nations that mimic patriarchal ways.34 Theypoint out that contemporary Indigenous male leaders put much ofthe responsibility for healing our communities on women, whichAnderson and Lawrence find problematic because they feel we doenough already. The constant focus on women as the backbone ofthe nation forestalls any discussion about men’s role and responsi-bility in reclaiming traditions and rebuilding the nations.35 Not talk-ing about men’s roles and responsibilities makes it easier to chastiseand discipline women.36 By speaking out and naming the enemies we have faced,Indigenous women share the many paths we have taken, and ourlives become a roadmap to the future. Our journeys through writ-
  11. 11. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 97ing represent a form of activism because our collective narrativesdemonstrate that traditions are being renewed, revitalized, or ques-tioned. Writing provides directions to help the lost find their wayhome. Anderson perceives Indigenous peoples to be “in a state ofconfusion,” but, she goes on to explain, “We are trying to work ourway out of it.”37 We are extracting ourselves from confusion by find-ing balance, and “when we find the balance we will know it becausethe women won’t be lost.”38 sharing our stories of survival through dialogue and writingWhen Indigenous women begin to speak out, a simultaneous de-sire to dialogue with other Indigenous women surfaces. Before theadvent of computers, chatrooms, and e-mail, and before the wide-spread publication of Indigenous women’s writing, it took us longerto learn that we have many shared experiences and have not beenalone in our struggles. Beth Brant’s (Bay of Quinte Mohawk) an-thology A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection by North American IndianWomen became a way for her to find women like herself whom theforces of colonialism have silenced. As she began to write and speak,she claims, “I wanted to hear from the women yet unheard. I wantedthe voices traditionally silenced to be a part of this collection.”Moreover, she insists, “I am doing this because I have to. I am doingthis because no one else will do it.”39 Brant’s words express a tremen-dous need to write or create, a common refrain voiced by Indigenouswomen. When Indigenous women speak up and seek each other out,communities of women begin to form who share stories and reveala common legacy of struggle against violence and oppression. Ourhistories have included many of the same lethal forces, transformingour experiences into a collective voice. The publication of Indigenous women’s writing has allowed usto dialogue with one another in creative, intellectual, and academicspaces that we have created. Harjo’s introduction to Reinventing theEnemy’s Language notes, “We learn the world and test it through in-teraction and dialogue with each other,” and anthologies limited to
  12. 12. 98 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4Indigenous women’s voices, including Through the Eye of the Deer, MyHome as I Remember, Sister Nations, Writing the Circle, and EverydayIs a Good Day, reveal the significance we place on the exchange ofideas.40 Like Brant, Harjo and Bird “wanted to know about the livesof women throughout the hemisphere who were writing [and] cre-ating.”41 Indigenous women’s writing connects us in a commonstruggle because our shared stories demonstrate recurrent patternsof differential treatment. Harjo and Bird created their anthology todialogue with other women, but, more importantly, they “wanted tosee how well we had survived the onslaught of destruction.” Theywanted to compile stories in order to help Indigenous women “tobecome empowered rather than victimized by destruction.”42 Our conversations with one another have challenged paradigmsthat disallow lived experience in intellectual conversations becauseIndigenous feminist discourse and theory is grounded in our collec-tive experience. Therefore, we dialogue with one another, an act thatis primary when engaging in Indigenous feminist research and as-sessing knowledge claims. Betty Louise Bell’s (Cherokee) protagonistin Faces in the Moon professes, “I was raised on the voices of women.Indian women. The kitchen table was first a place of remembering,a place where women came and drew their lives from each other.”43Dialogue reflects relationships based on equality rather than main-stream research practices that create subjects and objects. Dialoguetakes place at kitchen tables or over meals between women whohear and respond to one another’s stories whether they are verbalor written. Writing becomes a path to healing, and an Indigenous feministethos of responsibility compels women to share their stories andpersonal pain with one another to promote healing for everyone.Bird claims she writes because she realizes the power of languageand uses it as a tool to strengthen her people: “One of the func-tions of language is to construct our world. We are the producersof this world who create ourselves as well as our social reality, andwe do this through language.”44 Many Indigenous women creditwriting for their healing and survival, and they want to share thisdiscovery with others. Maria Campbell (Métis) confesses, “I went
  13. 13. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 99out one night and sat in a bar . . . and I started writing a letter be-cause I had to have somebody to talk to. And that was how I wroteHalfbreed.”45 Lois Red Elk (Fort Peck Dakota) began writing in orderto understand what she calls the “white man’s hell” she experienced:“When I was twelve years old,” she says, “‘the hell’ turned me inward(to resist under my breath), then I wrote and rewrote my thoughts(poems) to resolve the pain of stuffing their prejudice against us.”Red Elk also “wrote notes to encourage [her] Indian friends—‘Stay inschool, keep your baby, don’t take your life, you can quit drinking.’”46Chrystos (Menominee/Lithuanian/Alsace Lorraine) gave up writingafter she suffered a mental breakdown and lived on the streets. Aftera ten-year hiatus from writing, she again picked up pen and paper,and her journals reflect her personal and political struggles and herconcern with making Indigenous peoples visible. The people withwhom Chrystos shared her work admitted to her that her bookssaved their lives. To this she responds, “I can think of no greaterhonor than to help others fight to survive, despite all the forces ar-rayed against them.”47 Indigenous women acknowledge the empow-ering effect that writing has on them, knowledge they hope to passon to others. Laura Tohe (Diné) writes to reclaim herself and the power her cul-ture offers women because “the act of writing is claiming voice andtaking power.”48 Roessel writes to empower young Navajo womenwhom she feels are lost in the morass of cultural imperialism and can-not seem to find their way out: “It is for the young people that I writethis book about the heart of Navajo life, which is Navajo women.”49Emma LaRocque (Plains Cree/Métis) began writing in eighth gradeout of her need to express herself because, as she says, “there was somuch about our history and about our lives that . . . has been disre-garded, infantilized, and falsified.”50 Indigenous feminism’s ethos of responsibility includes makingone’s voice heard in order to reclaim and rewrite the collective his-tory of our peoples. Inez Peterson (Quinault) writes to rememberand to reclaim her Indigenous identity and history. She is just one ofthe many children stolen from their families and placed in white fos-ter care, so for her “the very act of removal prompted an intense de-
  14. 14. 100 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4sire to remember, and later record. This act of writing gathers for memy family, gives me back a history, and places me within my tribe,the Quinault Indian Nation.”51 Peterson broadens the meaning sur-rounding “removal” to include herself. She rhetorically connects herpersonal experience of removal from her home and family with themany other Indigenous peoples removed from home and homelandduring the Trail of Tears or the Long Walk. Janice Gould uses writingto actively engage in a process of self-definition: “These days I feel akind of urgency to reconstruct memory, annihilate the slow amnesiaof the dominant culture, and reclaim the past as a viable, if painfulentity.”52 Indigenous women also write to speak for the many indi-viduals who cannot speak. Bell writes, she says, “because my mothercould not, but also I write because it is there that I speak with convic-tion and connection. And it is there that I hope to recover the gentle-ness of my mother’s face.”53 Writing allows Indigenous women to counter misinforma-tion and share stories that mainstream historians have sanitized orglossed over. Linda Noel (Concow Maidu) writes about a painfulera in history, explaining that the California gold rush impelled herto write “to tell the stories that sometimes seem too painful, are toostark and sharp for most who are ignorant of truthful history. I haveto tell it.”54 The history of which Noel speaks includes a campaignaided by a state government that “subsidized military campaignsagainst Indians, allowing for the indiscriminate killing of Indianwomen and children, as well as men, and justifying the slaughter asprotecting settlers from Indian threat.”55 Lee Davis points out thatthis “program of genocide, ‘extermination’ in the California press,was carried out by a group calling itself the California VolunteerMilitia and by temporary bands of miners and ranchers—all orga-nized for the purpose of killing Indians.”56 Then Governor Peter H.Burnett encouraged these genocidal practices. In his 1851 message tothe legislature, he stated, “That a war of extermination will continueto be waged between the races, until the Indian race becomes extinct,must be expected. While we cannot anticipate this result but withpainful regret, the inevitable destiny of the race is beyond the poweror wisdom of man to avert.”57 Noel shares these painful histories be-cause no one else will do it.
  15. 15. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 101 speaking for the powerless—indigenous feminist theory in the fleshAccording to Cherríe Moraga, “A theory in the flesh means onewhere the physical realities of our lives—our skin color, the land orconcrete we grew up on, our sexual longings—all fuse to create apolitic born out of necessity.”58 Following colonization, fighting race,class, and gender violence, oppression, and injustice became a poli-tics of necessity for Indigenous women whose bodies marked themas different and, therefore, violable. Indigenous women’s social loca-tion or positionality contributed to their critical understanding ofthe world and generated a critical consciousness of oppression. Yet,Indigenous women have always theorized from positions of power,and colonization ignited a first wave of Indigenous feminist rhetoricand activism that reflected the physical realities of Indigenous wom-en’s lives affected by patriarchy and racism. Forming a chronology ofearly Indigenous women’s activism enables the process of recoveringand developing an Indigenous feminist theory grounded in women’sbodies. Such a chronology presents Indigenous women as respond-ing to multiple, shifting, and dynamic sets of social relationships thatdeveloped after conquest. Early on, Indigenous women threatened the positions and rhe-torical sites of power white men claimed. They did so by embracingpresumably male roles such as warrior or politician. Nancy Ward(Cherokee), for example, fought alongside her husband in a battlebetween the Creeks and Cherokees, which earned her the position ofGhighau, or Supreme Beloved Woman, the institutionalized femaleleadership role that was a distinguishing feature of the Cherokees’matrilineal kinship system.59 As early as 1755, Ward recognized, iden-tified, and named patriarchy as the enemy, and through English shecommunicated with colonists as she worked diplomatically to bet-ter the lives of her people and to protect a Cherokee worldview andpractices. While evidence of her rhetorical practices lay hidden untilrecent recovery efforts, the courage and strength she exhibited in lifewere undoubtedly passed down orally, contributing to an ongoingtradition of strong Cherokee women working for their people.
  16. 16. 102 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4 In her position of Supreme Beloved Woman, Ward stood as asymbol of peace, embodying the concept of a theory in the flesh. Herresponsibilities included negotiating peace to ensure the Cherokees’survival, a position that granted her the authority to speak for andrepresent her people during political negotiations with foreign gov-ernments, a role denied to women in patriarchal societies.60 Ward’srole as peacemaker, woman, and mother influenced her rhetoric andblurred gender roles as white, patriarchal society had defined them.An Indigenous feminist standpoint determined the rhetoric she usedin each of her roles, all of them leading to an inclusive paradigm thataccounted for women’s differences. In a speech to U.S. treaty com-missioners in 1781, Ward stated, “You know that women are alwayslooked upon as nothing; but we are your mothers, you are our sons.Our cry is all for peace; let it continue. This peace must last forever.Let your women’s sons be ours; our sons be yours. Let your womenhear our words.”61 Ward pointed out to the commissioners that thenature and relationship of patriarchal practices disempowered allwomen, a recognition evidenced when she told white, male treatycommissioners, “You know that women are always looked upon asnothing.” Ward’s statement translated into a challenge that askedwhite men to deconstruct and to understand their power and privi-lege, which more often than not they used to oppress. She challengedpatriarchal society’s treatment of women by calling on all men, in-cluding Cherokees, to reject sexist attitudes toward women. Equally significant, by asking white men to let “their” womenhear Cherokee women’s words she offered Cherokee womanhood asa new kind of subjectivity, and she urged white women to recognizethe links she made between patriarchy, gender, and oppression. Shebegan by correcting western European modes of descent, tracing thecommissioners’ sons through their mothers’ line rather than theirfathers’ line and reclaiming matriarchy and matrilineality as sitesof power for women. Again, in a petition from Cherokee womento President Franklin, Ward positioned women in a position ofpower when she stated, “I am in hopes if you Rightly consider it thatwoman is mother of All—and that woman Does not pull Childrenout of Trees or Stumps nor out of old Logs, but out of their Bodies,
  17. 17. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 103so that they ought to mind what a woman says, and look upon heras mother.”62 By elevating the status of motherhood and validatinga matrilineal line of descent, Ward attempted to modify interper-sonal relationships based on patriarchal models, thus changing thestructural forces that support dominance and subordination. In theconnections Ward made between women’s debasement, war, and theresponsibilities associated with motherhood, she created a frame-work for resistance among all women by dissecting Western socialstructures and connecting women’s oppression and subordinationto a broader social framework. Ward aimed her short speech at the treaty commissioners with thegoal of dismantling oppressive practices, presenting insights aboutpatterns of treatment toward women that encouraged gender subor-dination. She recognized, identified, and rejected patriarchy and itsannihilation of women’s sites of power, emphasizing the significanceand importance of self-definition for women. As mothers, womenexerted great power to modify their children’s behavior, which couldin turn change gendered power relations in the future. Through theirintimate connection with men, women also had the power to workto actively suppress violence by refusing to support war, a choice thatwould have demonstrated their responsibility to protect and pre-serve all life.63 Her construction and definition of what it meant to bea woman and the concept of womanhood through a Cherokee lensopposed a Western patriarchal ideology that subordinated women tomen. By naming patriarchy as the enemy, reinventing the meaningof “woman” and “womanhood” for white women, and promotingwomen’s empowerment, Ward’s early Indigenous feminist rhetorichighlights connections between women’s diverse experiences andthe resulting group knowledge that results from living in a colonialnation-state and working in white-male-controlled social institu-tions that suppress or neglect social justice issues important to mostall women. Today, communities of Indigenous women follow Ward’s examplewhen they identify and name our enemies, taking theory into prac-tice, and deriving it from lived experience. While Indigenous womenstill experience the consequences of patriarchy and the subordina-
  18. 18. 104 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4tion and oppression of women, many more are speaking out againstthe violence Indigenous women have endured since Ward’s time. Inresponse to the alarmingly high rates of violence against aboriginalwomen today, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)an organization committed to the concerns and needs of aborigi-nal women, launched the national Sisters in Spirit campaign.64 TheNWAC grew out of an Indigenous feminist epistemology, reflect-ing the belief that it is our responsibility to speak up and care forthose who are powerless. The NWAC broke aboriginal women’ssilence surrounding the epidemic of violence that literally threat-ens their survival in Canada and formed a community based on ashared history and the threat of continued violence. They recoveredIndigenous women’s voices, even those who have gone missing orhave been found dead, focusing on the experiences of women whoare not white, upper- or middle-class, or educated. Their decisionto speak out constitutes a significant act in which many Indigenouswomen engage: breaking the silence that allows violence to continueand speaking out against oppression, injustice, and indifference thatallowed a nation to ignore a murder for over a decade. Much ofIndigenous women’s creative and scholarly work and political activ-ism challenge stereotypes as a way to fight violence because stereo-typed images influence men to see Indigenous women as objects tobe used and abused as the case of a nineteen-year-old student, HelenBetty Osborne (Cree), illustrates. On the evening of November 13, 1971, four white men abducted,sexually assaulted, and brutally murdered Osborne near The Pas inManitoba, Canada.65 When they first spotted her, Osborne’s murder-ers had been “cruising,” a term locals use to describe white males’ at-tempts to pick up aboriginal girls, some underage, for drinking andsex. Although the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were aware of thispractice, during the trial they admitted that they had never stoppedcars to inquire if the girls were of age or even if they were willingparticipants. On the night she was murdered, Osborne had not gonewillingly, so the men forced her into their car, drove her out of town,sexually assaulted her, then murdered her and hid her dead and nakedbody in a remote location.
  19. 19. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 105 It took sixteen years before her perpetrators were brought totrial, an event whose attention led to calls for a public inquiry intothe Canadian government’s implementation of justice regardingaboriginal peoples. According to reports by the Aboriginal JusticeImplementation Commission, [Osborne’s] attackers seemed to be operating on the assump- tion that Aboriginal women were promiscuous and open to enticement through alcohol or violence. It is evident that the men who abducted Osborne believed that young Aboriginal women were objects with no human value beyond sexual grat- ification. . . . There is one fundamental fact: her murder was a racist and sexist act. Betty Osborne would be alive today had she not been an Aboriginal woman.66In a nation that would not admit to believing in aboriginal women’sinferiority, insignificance, or worthlessness, the commission’s findingsmake visible the presence of racist and sexist attitudes and behaviorsthat transform Indigenous women into sexual targets for men. Ideological justifications motivate cruising, and stereotypicalimages of aboriginal women as promiscuous provided Osborne’smurderers with the rationalization they needed to abduct, brutalize,and then murder her. Dehumanizing images of Indigenous women arewidespread, and the physical and sexual abuse of aboriginal womendemonstrates that they are more than symbolic. Emma LaRocquemakes a connection between stereotypes, Indigenous women’s de-basement through these degrading images, and Osborne’s murder: The “squaw” is the female counterpart to the Indian male “sav- age” and as such she has no human face; she is lustful, im- moral, unfeeling and dirty. Such grotesque dehumanization has rendered all Native women and girls vulnerable to gross physical, psychological and sexual violence. . . . I believe that there is a direct relationship between these horrible racist/sex- ist stereotypes and violence against Native women and girls. I believe, for example, that Helen Betty Osborne was murdered in 1972 by four young men from The Pas because these youths
  20. 20. 106 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4 grew up with twisted notions of “Indian girls” as “squaws.” . . . Osborne’s attempts to fight off these men’s sexual advances challenged their racist expectations that an “Indian squaw” should show subservience . . . [causing] the whites . . . to go into a rage and proceed to brutalize the victim.67In spite of the brutality and injustice represented by Osborne’s mur-der and the length of time before her perpetrators were brought totrial, hers is not an isolated incident. Estimates range from over fivehundred to as high as one thousand aboriginal women who are cur-rently missing and thought to be dead in Canada.68 Because the NWAC values the lives of women whom whiteCanadian others have forgotten or silenced, their project resists his-torical amnesia and dedicates itself to remembering the voices andlives of women whom Canadian society would rather the publicforget. Moreover, their project represents an act of resistance and re-sponsibility by giving voice to previously silenced spaces. Indigenouswomen’s work such as that done by NWAC introduces specializedbodies of knowledge that Western rhetorical sites of power excludefrom mainstream intellectual traditions. Nevertheless, Indigenouswomen have continued to express and validate their worldviewsand experiences, producing knowledge in alternative sites of powerand transforming aboriginal women’s lives by empowering them tospeak out against violence. Many women have not yet reached a place where they can releasetheir fear, so their lack of voice renders them invisible. A need tostay invisible makes obvious the racialized and spatialized violencethat remains a by-product of colonialism. According to ShereneRazack, dominant racist ideologies have resulted in spatial practicessuch as cruising in places Indigenous women are known to frequent.Razack’s exploration of Pamela George’s (Salteaux Ojibway) murder,much like Osborne’s, led her to conclude that white settler societieshave otherized Indigenous spaces, portraying them as primitive andwild, thus transforming them into sites where white men can engagein acts of sexual violence against Indigenous women, reenactingstrategies of domination.69 Osborne and George might have triedto remain invisible, but their lives beyond their reserves, in white,
  21. 21. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 107urban space, illustrates the threat aboriginal women continue to facewhen they leave their homes and move through racialized space.70 Bywalking through what whites encode as “wild and primitive” space,they become sexual objects in white men’s minds, indicating thatwhite settler societies continue to maintain and police spatial andsymbolic boundaries through threats of violence. Altogether, Indigenous authors, scholars, and activists form acollective of women who are refusing to remain silent about the vio-lence perpetuated by repressive hierarchies and structural inequal-ities even when they exist in our own communities. The NWAC’sSisters in Spirit campaign forced the Canadian government to ad-dress the high rates of violence against aboriginal women and thecontinued indifference of legal authorities in combating violence.Although their modes of discourse differ, the political work of Wardand the social justice work of the NWAC represent a “theory in theflesh,” a politics of coalition, and a paradigm that unites an ethos ofresponsibility with community as characteristic of Indigenous femi-nist discourse.Indigenous women’s rhetorical practices foreground our individ-ual and collective histories, methodologies, and cultural practices,creating a body of collective knowledge that informs Indigenousfeminisms’ methods and concerns. By centering our experiences inour rhetorical practices, we demonstrate that writing constitutes acentral location where we theorize their lives. Writing allows us tounderstand the past, the present, and our place in it. It also allowsus to imagine a better future. Because Indigenous feminist scholarshonor our commitment to the past and recognize our responsibil-ity to ensure a better future for generations to come, we experiencea tension between our scholarship and our everyday lives. Ratherthan read books that challenge oppressive structures and ideologies,Indigenous feminist scholars have put theory into practice, produc-ing knowledge grounded in our struggles. As a result, Indigenousfeminist theory presents strategies that empower, including namingenemies that protect the status quo, making language reflect our ex-periences, and writing to survive. The characteristics of Indigenous
  22. 22. 108 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4feminist theory reveal its purpose: promote a sense of responsibil-ity, healing, and survival. Because Indigenous women still contendwith violence and oppression—the physical violence that threatensus and aims to keep us silent and the oppression we feel as scholarswhose work goes unacknowledged simply because it refuses to fol-low Western methodologies—we continue to fight for justice. Although not always recognized as political, Indigenous feministrhetorical practices engage in a kind of political activism becausethey provide a commentary on Indigenous peoples’ resurgence andrecovery and because they instill in the younger generation pride, ac-tivism, and the power to resist injustice. Rather than view Indigenouswomen as victims, we should focus on their coming to voice and tell-ing stories as a healing process. Rather than live in fear, Indigenouswomen speak out to promote resurgence and recovery as Joy Harjodoes in her poem “I Give You Back.”71 While violence still informsmany of our lives, the poem’s unnamed narrator refuses to live infear by returning it to those who created it: I give you back to the white soldiers who burned down my home, beheaded my children, raped and sodomized my brothers and sisters. I give you back to those who stole the food from our plates when we were starving. I release you, fear, because you hold these scenes in front of me and I was born with eyes that can never close.The narrator refuses to claim responsibility for a fear that has kepther paralyzed. The narrator connects the fear she feels with the vio-lence of an ongoing colonialism, and following the action that Wardhad implicitly advised white women to take, the narrator refuses toparticipate in a relationship that fosters fear and terror any longer.This unnamed narrator, who can represent any one of us, resists vio-lence and fear, illustrating a “theory in the flesh” and representingthe embodiment of knowledge as she connects her fear to patriar-chal violence and racism. As Harjo’s poem illustrates, Indigenous women are refusing toremain silent about the epidemic of violence that occurs both inside
  23. 23. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 109and beyond the borders of our communities. Yet, many of us failto consider the violence language can perpetuate and too often uselanguage in ways that reveal the remnants of colonization. Harjo il-lustrates how language can harm rather than heal, choosing insteadto release words and images that caused a fear she once held closebut no longer claims as her own: I release you, my beautiful and terrible fear. I release you. You were my beloved and hated twin, but now, I don’t know you as myself. [. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .] Oh, you have choked me, but I gave you the leash. You have gutted me but I gave you the knife. You have devoured me, but I laid myself across the fire. I take myself back, fear. You are not my shadow any longer.Throughout the poem, the unnamed narrator chants in English thehealing phrase “I release you” in order to liberate herself from words,histories, and images that fostered a fear that choked, gutted, anddevoured her. Harjo’s poem exemplifies a strategy of resistance that fosters anIndigenous feminist discourse. She portrays an Indigenous womannaming forces that have held her hostage and that have attempted todevour her humanity, and it portrays a woman releasing the powerthese forces have held over her and refusing to be a willing partici-pant in her own oppression, both of which are acts that empowerher to reclaim and revision herself on her own terms. Harjo presentsan Indigenous woman who has “reinvented the enemy’s language”in order to appropriate and redefine words and to resist images thatwhite “others” have used against us. Indigenous women generatefeminist theory through everyday verbal interaction and throughcreative endeavors such as poetry, and Bird reminds us of the powerthat writing wields: I hear people say that poetry won’t make any difference, but I know that isn’t true. In 1988 the Nicaraguan poet Ernesto
  24. 24. 110 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4 Cardenal was denied a visa to tour the United States to read poetry. . . . Cardenal is a Catholic priest and poet, and the threat he poses, I think, is representative of the threat Native American writers pose in this country.72Indigenous women who write to promote survival broaden the no-tion of political activism for those who interpret writing and read-ing as a passive form of recreation or entertainment. For Indigenouswomen, the rhetorical practice of writing and embodying a theoryin the flesh empowers because it heals. Currently, Indigenous women are moving toward more bal-anced states through activism and writing that reflects our experi-ences. The activities in which Indigenous women engage are alwaysalready informed by some theory or worldview, so we should re-gard Indigenous women’s activities as forms of theorizing, as ways ofpracticing that which we believe based on theories of how we shouldlive our lives. Gloria Anzaldua asserts that “we [non-white feminists]need to de-academize theory and to connect the community to theacademy. . . . We need to give up the notion that there is a ‘correct’way to write theory.”73 Therefore, this article perceives the voices ofall Indigenous women as constituting multifaceted and multidimen-sional sources of data that theorize the racialized, sexualized, andgendered dynamics of Indigenous women’s lives. However, to claimvictimhood reinforces the belief that we are inferior and unable toassert agency. The physical realities of Indigenous women’s lives in-clude daily struggles for survival and the threat of violence, but ourrealities also “convey the resiliency of our survival.” Whether livinglives isolated on reservations, segregated in urban areas, or caught upin the world of wage labor, Indigenous women have crafted opposi-tional knowledge designed to resist oppression. Indigenous women’sparticipation in various settings has created the conditions for ourresistance. In turn, acts of resistance against oppression have influ-enced Indigenous intellectuals, creating a dialectic of oppressionand activism that contributes to the development of an Indigenousfeminist discourse. Indigenous feminist discourse refashions im-ages of Indigenous womanhood, using our lived experiences and
  25. 25. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 111cultural traditions as alternative meanings to current notions of thefeminine. Our efforts to find a collective, self-defined voice appearin writing and activities that bring women together in friendship,family relations, or organizations of women with like-minded goals,forming a “theory in the flesh” made up of Indigenous women writ-ing to survive. notes 1. August 25–28, 2005, University of Alberta, Edmonton. 2. I am referring to Dr. Glenabah Martinez (Taos Pueblo/Diné), assistantprofessor in the University of New Mexico’s College of Education. An ex-cerpt from the conference call for papers reads, “Developments in feministtheory and practice since the late 1980s and 1990s have enabled scholars torecognize how nationality, race, class, sexuality, and ethnicity inform axesof gender differentiation among women as a social class. Despite these in-terventions, indigenous women and feminist issues remain undertheorizedwithin contemporary feminist critical theory.” 3. The phrase “reinventing the enemy’s language” comes from the titleof Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird’s anthology Reinventing the Enemy’s Language(New York: W. W. Norton, 1997). 4. Janice Acoose, Iskwewak, Kah’ Ki Yaw Ni Wahkomakanak: NeitherIndian Princesses nor Easy Squaws (Toronto: Women’s P, 1995) 37. 5. Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: IndigenousWomen and Feminism (St. Lucia: U of Queensland P, 2000) 89. 6. Harjo and Bird 21. 7. Berenice Levchuk in Harjo and Bird 176. 8. Acoose 12. 9. See Connie Fife, The Colour of Resistance: A Contemporary Collectionof Writing by Aboriginal Women (Toronto: Sister Vision P, 1993) 58. Qtd. inAcoose 37. 10. Lee Maracle, I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology andFeminism (Vancouver: Press Gang Publishers, 1996) 8. 11. Maracle 9. 12. Lila Tabobondung, qtd. in Kim Anderson, A Recognition of Being:Reconstructing Native Womanhood (Toronto: Second Story P, 2000) 237. 13. Anderson 31. 14. Scott Richard Lyons, “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do AmericanIndians Want from Writing?” CCC 51.3 (2000): 449.
  26. 26. 112 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4 15. Harjo and Bird 22. 16. Anderson 17. 17. Acoose 19–20. 18. Paula Gunn Allen, Spider Woman’s Granddaughters: Traditional Talesand Contemporary Writing by Native American Women (Boston: Beacon P,1989) 18. 19. Scott Kayla Morrison in Harjo and Bird 98, 100. 20. Harjo and Bird 21. 21. Harjo and Bird 31. 22. Kimberly Blaeser in Harjo and Bird 113. 23. Tiffany Midge in Harjo and Bird 211–12. 24. Yvonne Lamore-Choate in Harjo and Bird 214. 25. Anderson 115. 26. Maracle 6. 27. Maracle 8. 28. Maracle n.p. 29. Maracle xii. 30. Haunani-Kay Trask, “Feminism and Hawaiian Nationalism,” Signs:Journal of Women in Culture and Society 21.4 (1996): 913. 31. Emma Lee Warrior in Harjo and Bird 72. 32. Ruth Roessel, Women in Navajo Society (Rough Rock, Navajo Nation,AZ: Navajo Resource Center, Rough Rock Demonstration School, 1981) ix. 33. Anderson 267. 34. Anderson 269. 35. Anderson 271. 36. Anderson 272. 37. Anderson 13. 38. Anderson 13. 39. Beth Brant, A Gathering of Spirit: A Collection by North AmericanIndian Women (1974; Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1988) 9. 40. Joy Harjo, introduction, Harjo and Bird 19. 41. Harjo, introduction, Harjo and Bird 21. 42. Harjo, introduction, Harjo and Bird 21. 43. Betty Louise Bell, Faces in the Moon (Norman: U of Oklahoma P,1994) 4. 44. Gloria Bird in Harjo and Bird 40. 45. Maria Campbell, Halfbreed (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1973)53. Qtd. in Acoose 100. 46. Lois Red Elk in Harjo and Bird 188.
  27. 27. Archuleta: “I Give You Back” 113 47. Chrystos in Harjo and Bird 232. 48. Laura Tohe in Harjo and Bird 41. 49. Roessel ix. 50. Emma LaRocque, interview in Contemporary Challenges: Conversationswith Contemporary Canadian Native Writers, ed. Hartmut Lutz (Saskatoon:Fifth House Publishers, 1991) 176. Qtd. in Acoose 109. 51. Inez Peterson in Harjo and Bird 104. 52. Janice Gould in Harjo and Bird 52. 53. Betty Louise Bell in Harjo and Bird 74–75. 54. Linda Noel in Harjo and Bird 234. 55. Lee Davis, “California Tribes,” in Encyclopedia of North AmericanIndians, ed. Frederick E. Moxie (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996) 94–98. 56. Davis 94–98. 57. Peter H. Burnett, “Governor’s Annual Message to the Legislature,January 7, 1851,” Journals of the Senate and Assembly of the State of California,at the Second Session of the Legislature, 1851–1852 (San Francisco: G. K. Fitchand V. E. Geiger, State Printers, 1852) 15. 58. Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, This Bridge Called My Back:Writings by Radical Women of Color (San Francisco: Aunt Lute P, 1981) 23. 59. Nancy Ward is her anglicized married name. 60. See Clara Sue Kidwell, “Indian Women as Cultural Mediators,”Ethnohistory 39.2 (1992): 102; Kidwell, “What Would Pocahontas ThinkNow: Women and Cultural Persistence,” Callaloo 17.1 (1994): 153–54; “NancyWard,” Gale Free Resources, http://www.gale.com/free_resources/whm/bio/ward_n.htm (accessed August 16, 2005). 61. Nancy Ward, “Speech to the U.S. Treaty Commissioners,” NativeAmerican Women’s Writing: 1800–1924, ed. Karen Kilcup (Malden, MA:Blackwell, 2000) 27. 62. Nancy Ward, “Cherokee Indian Women to President Franklin,” Kilcup28. 63. Aida Hurtado presents a theory of relational privilege that analyzes thediffering positions of white women and women of color as based on wom-en’s relationship to white men. See The Color of Privilege: Three Blasphemieson Race and Feminism (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1996). 64. Refer to Sisters in Spirit Web site for more information: http://www.sistersinspirit.ca (accessed November 1, 2005). Also see the HelenBetty Osborne Memorial Foundation Web site at http://www.helenbettyosbornefdtn.ca.
  28. 28. 114 sail · winter 2006 · vol. 18, no. 4 65. The viciousness of Osborne’s murder is outlined in a report by theAboriginal Justice Implementation Commission: “Along with well over 50stab wounds, her skull, cheekbones, and palate were broken, her lungs weredamaged, and one kidney was torn. Her body showed extensive bruising.The massive number of puncture wounds to the head and torso confirmedother evidence that was presented at the trial which suggested that a screw-driver was at least one weapon used. The other weapon or weapons presum-ably were hands or feet or some other blunt instrument.” From chapter 3,“The Murder,” in Death of Helen Betty Osborne, The Aboriginal Justice Im-plementation Commission, http://www.ajic.mb.ca/volumell/chapter3.html(accessed November 1, 2005). 66. Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission, chapter 5,“The Com-munity,” http://www.ajic.mb.ca/volumell/chapter5.html (accessed Novem-ber 1, 2005). 67. Emma LaRocque, Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission, chap-ter 13, “Aboriginal Women,” http://www.ajic.mb.ca/volumel/chapter13.html#0(accessed July 2, 2006). 68. Statistics come from the Sisters in Spirit Web site. 69. Sherene H. Razack, “Gendered Racial Violence and Spatialized Justice:The Murder of Pamela George,” Race, Space and the Law: Unmapping a WhiteSettler Society, ed. Razack (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2002) 130–31. 70. This does not deny that violence exists on reserves. 71. Joy Harjo, “I Give You Back,” How We Became Human: New andSelected Poems 1975–2001 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004) 50–51. 72. Gloria Bird, foreword, Harjo and Bird 39. 73. Gloria Anzaldua, Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creativeand Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color (San Francisco: Aunt LuteFoundation Books, 1990) xxv.