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The Queerness of Native American Literature

2014
Author:

Lisa Tatonetti

The Queerness of Native American Literature

A comprehensive view of Indigenous queer literature since Stonewall

In The Queerness of Native American Literature, Lisa Tatonetti recovers ties between two simultaneous renaissances of the late twentieth century: queer literature and Native American literature. Throughout, she argues that queerness has been central to Native American literature for decades, showing how queer Native literature and Two-Spirit critiques challenge understandings of both Indigeneity and sexuality.

Finally! A queer recovery of Native literatures that challenges both straight and settler erasures of queer and Two-Spirit presence. In The Queerness of Native American Literature, Lisa Tatonetti not only restores a history of queer Native literature, but also revises the history of Native American Studies to show us its queer and feminist genealogies. Her critical attention to Maurice Kenney’s and Janice Gould’s work are enough to make this book central to Native American literary studies, but Tatonetti also gifts us with Indigenous Queer critical approaches that, no doubt, will change the future of Native American and Indigenous Studies. Tatonetti demonstrates that the entire field of Native American literature is a very queer story, indeed.

Qwo-Li Driskill, Oregon State University

With a new and more inclusive perspective for the growing field of queer Native studies, Lisa Tatonetti provides a genealogy of queer Native writing after Stonewall. Looking across a broad range of literature, Tatonetti offers the first overview and guide to queer Native literature from its rise in the 1970s to the present day.

In The Queerness of Native American Literature, Tatonetti recovers ties between two simultaneous renaissances of the late twentieth century: queer literature and Native American literature. She foregrounds how Indigeneity intervenes within and against dominant interpretations of queer genders and sexualities, recovering unfamiliar texts from the 1970s while presenting fresh, cogent readings of well-known works. In juxtaposing the work of Native authors—including the longtime writer–activist Paula Gunn Allen, the first contemporary queer Native writer Maurice Kenny, the poet Janice Gould, the novelist Louise Erdrich, and the filmmakers Sherman Alexie, Thomas Bezucha, and Jorge Manuel Manzano—with the work of queer studies scholars, Tatonetti proposes resourceful interventions in foundational concepts in queer studies while also charting new directions for queer Native studies.

Throughout, she argues that queerness has been central to Native American literature for decades, showing how queer Native literature and Two-Spirit critiques challenge understandings of both Indigeneity and sexuality.

Awards

Western Literature Association — Thomas J. Lyon Book Award

The Queerness of Native American Literature

Lisa Tatonetti is associate professor of English at Kansas State University. She is coeditor of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature.

The Queerness of Native American Literature

Finally! A queer recovery of Native literatures that challenges both straight and settler erasures of queer and Two-Spirit presence. In The Queerness of Native American Literature, Lisa Tatonetti not only restores a history of queer Native literature, but also revises the history of Native American Studies to show us its queer and feminist genealogies. Her critical attention to Maurice Kenney’s and Janice Gould’s work are enough to make this book central to Native American literary studies, but Tatonetti also gifts us with Indigenous Queer critical approaches that, no doubt, will change the future of Native American and Indigenous Studies. Tatonetti demonstrates that the entire field of Native American literature is a very queer story, indeed.

Qwo-Li Driskill, Oregon State University

A productive, early step in an effort to enrich and complicate the ways in which to reimagine Native American literature and study.

CHOICE

The Queerness of Native American Literature is a necessary book for historians of sexuality, indigeneity, and late twentieth-century literature, and it provides a valuable window onto complex historical intersectionalities.

Journal of American History

The Queerness of Native American Literature

Contents

Introduction: Two-Spirit Histories

1. A Genealogy of Queer Native Literatures
2. The Native 1970s: Maurice Kenny and Fag Rag
3. Queer Relationships and Two-Spirit Characters in Louise Erdrich’s Novels
4. Forced to Choose: Queer Indigeneity in Film
5. Indigenous Assemblage and Queer Diasporas in the Work of Janice Gould

Conclusion: Two-Spirit Futures

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index