When Did Indians Become Straight? Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty

When Did Indians Become Straight? Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty

When Did Indians Become Straight? Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty

When Did Indians Become Straight? Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty

Synopsis

When Did Indians Become Straight? explores the complex relationship between contested U.S. notions of normality and shifting forms of Native American governance and self-representation. Examining a wide range of texts (including captivity narratives, fiction, government documents, and anthropological tracts), Mark Rifkin offers a cultural and literary history of the ways Native peoples have been inserted into Euramerican discourses of sexuality and how Native intellectuals have sought to reaffirm their peoples' sovereignty and self-determination.

Excerpt

I mean, the issue here is marriage. and to me, the building block—
and I think, to most people in America, number one, it’s common
sense that a marriage is between a man and a woman. I mean, every
civilization in the history of man has recognized a unique bond.

Why? Because—principally because of children. I mean, it’s—it is
the reason for marriage. It’s not to affirm the love of two people.
I mean, that’s not what marriage is about. I mean, if that were the
case, then lots of different people and lots of different combinations
could be, quote, “married.”

Marriage is not about affirming somebody’s love for somebody
else. It’s about uniting together to be open to children, to further civ
ilization in our society.

And that’s unique. and that’s why civilizations forever have recog
nized that unique role that needs to be licensed, needs [to be] held up
as different than anything else because of its unique nurturing effect
on children.

—Rick Santorum, appearance on Fox News Sunday

By kinship all Dakota people were held together in a great relation
ship that was theoretically all-inclusive and co-extensive with the
Dakota domain….

Before going further, I can safely say that the ultimate aim of
Dakota life, stripped of accessories, was quite simple: One must obey
kinship rules; one must be a good relative.

—Ella Deloria, Speaking of Indians

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