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Power in My Blood: corporeal Sovereignty through the Praxis of an Indigenous Eroticanalysis Open Access


Other title
Indigenous Sexualities and Gender
Body Politics
Social Justice
Reproductive Justice
Indigenous Erotica
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Bear, Tracy L
Supervisor and department
Martin, Keavy (English and Film Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Stewart, Christine (English and Film Studies)
Williamson, Janice (English and Film Studies)
Kermoal, Nathalie (Native Studies)
Bielawski, Ellen (Native Studies)
Powell, Malea (Dept. of Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures)
Department of English and Film Studies
Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This dissertation explores how Indigenous articulations of sensuality, sexuality and gender form erotic expressions and act as decolonizing mechanisms. I address the question, “If this is my body, where are my stories?” by arguing for the recovery and what I call the practice of an Indigenous eroticanalysis as a reclamation of sovereignty over our Indigenous bodies. The condemnatory language of historical settler accounts suggests that the criminalization of Indigenous sexualities and genders began at first contact. Any freedoms or diversities of Indigenous sexuality and gender were silenced with colonial language steeped in sexual sin, shame, and perversity. The damnation of Indigenous bodies led to the colonial invocation of “terra nullius” meaning “empty lands” to justify the theft, possession, and exploitation of Indigenous territories. Today, retaining ownership of Indigenous lands depends upon the acceptance of patriarchal social structures, including the male/female gender binary structure. I examine the Indigenous erotic as a rewriting of Indigenous bodies in which sexuality, gender, and desire are a source of power and knowledge. Engaging in an Indigenous research method, a Nehiyaw’iskwew strategy of inquiry, Power in My Blood investigates a compilation of erotic poetry, visual art, a play, a memorial art installation and two novels. My primary research conducts an eroticanalysis of the Windigo-killer Niska in a novel by Joseph Boyden (Anishnaabe and Scottish heritage), Three Day Road, and of the Redthorn Warrior Tarsa’deshae in Daniel Heath Justice’s (Cherokee) sci-fi fantasy trilogy, Kynship. The eroticanalysis of these works reimagines and expands definitions of Indigenous gender and sexuality, and functions as a potential resource for decolonization.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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