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Mark My Words

Native Women Mapping Our Nations

2013
Author:

Mishuana Goeman

Mark My Words

Examining the role of twentieth-century Native women’s literature in remapping settler geographies

Mark My Words traces settler colonialism as an enduring form of gendered spatial violence, demonstrating how it persists in the contemporary context of neoliberal globalization. In a strong and lucid voice, Mishuana Goeman provides close readings of literary texts, arguing that it is vital to refocus the efforts of Native nations beyond replicating settler models of territory, jurisdiction, and race.

Mark My Words is a sophisticated, significant, and exceedingly original examination of the complex ways in which Native women’s poetry and prose reveal settler colonialism in North America as an enduring form of gendered spatial violence and imagine alternatives to such violence. Mishuana Goeman provides beautifully elaborated, historically and theoretically informed, and stunning close readings of literary works by Native women spanning the twentieth century.

Jodi Kim, University of California, Riverside

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.

Mark My Words

Mishuana Goeman is assistant professor of gender studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mark My Words

Mark My Words is a sophisticated, significant, and exceedingly original examination of the complex ways in which Native women’s poetry and prose reveal settler colonialism in North America as an enduring form of gendered spatial violence and imagine alternatives to such violence. Mishuana Goeman provides beautifully elaborated, historically and theoretically informed, and stunning close readings of literary works by Native women spanning the twentieth century.

Jodi Kim, University of California, Riverside

Mishuana Goeman breaks new theoretical and methodological ground through her conceptualization of gendered spatial geographies and cartographies. As such, this book makes a timely and important contribution to current theorizing about space and place.

Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Queensland University of Technology

The strongest contribution of Mark My Words is the emphasis on the process by which places are made and constructed, rather than on the materiality of the land on which people act. This allows Goeman to identify the ways decolonized spatial knowledges are created. In so doing, Goeman insightfully demonstrates that decolonization is a multifaceted process, as opposed to a single discrete moment or strategy.

Wicazo Sa Review

What Goeman offers is a geographical analysis of Native women’s literature from outside geography.

Journal of Historical Geography

Mishuana Goeman’s long-awaited exploration of cultural, social, and literary spatial constructions is punctuated by personally experienced geographies as it applies an indigenous feminist lens to (re)map colonial landscapes. Her analysis strategically moves through and remaps history and policies by marking Native women’s literary responses to these ongoing relationships between individuals, nations, and the land. Mark My Words provides a necessary addition to the study of American and global relationships, and the land we share. Most importantly, however, the text offers a compelling map towards global decolonization.

American Indian Culture and Research Journal

Its strength lies in the sophistication and depth with which it sustains [engagement with high geographical theory], and in the inclusion of a well-chosen set of primary readings and real-world examples of policies and practices of colonization and exclusion against which North American Natives are compelled to resist.

Cartographica

Essential for anyone concerned with education in Hawai’i. A hopeful, successful, and concrete example of what Indigenous education can accomplish.

Hawaiian Journal of History

Goeman challenges the pervasive myth of the disappearing Indian by demonstrating that both the peoples and geographies foundational to Native communities have not disappeared but “are waiting to be remapped and ‘grasped.’”

Canadian Literature

Mark My Words is an astute, productive analysis that will prove enormously useful to scholars in Native American studies, social geograpaphy, and English literature.

SAIL

Goeman clearly demonstrates the necessity of combining multiple critical approaches in order to understand the ways that literature can empower us to remap the world.

American Indian Quarterly

Eloquent, compelling, and unique.

NAIS

A thoughtful and carefully constructed argument about the power of imagination and the tremendous value of reimagining colonial spatialities.

MELUS

Mark My Words

Contents

Introduction: Gendered Geographies and Narrative Markings

1. “Remember What You Are”: Gendering Citizenship, the Indian Act, and (Re)mapping the Settler Nation-State
2. (Re)routing Native Mobility, Uprooting Settler Spaces in the Poetry of Esther Belin
3. From the Stomp Grounds on Up: Indigenous Movement and the Politics of Globalization
4. “Someday a Story Will Come”: Rememorative Futures
Conclusion: “She Can Map Herself Like a Country She Discovers”

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index