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Healing, violence, and Native American women.

COLONIAL IMAGES AND TALES SUPPORT A CULTURE IN OUR SOCIETY THAT sanctions violence against Native American women. (1) To decolonize our culture, ritual affirmations of Indian women that offer alternatives to debasing and stereotypical representations need to be woven into everyday life. This essay will examine an American Indian Holocaust exhibit that translated colonial representations of Indian women, discussed their history and roles, and used tribal spiritual practices as a means for Native women and others to heal themselves from the debilitating effects of colonialism. These cultural approaches emphasize the importance of translation and transculturation as powerful tools to heal from the American Indian Holocaust. They also underscore the need to use Native rather than Eurocentric philosophy and viewpoints to begin to move beyond colonial hierarchies that have supported a culture that condones violence against Indian women.

What Is Translation?

When Europeans set foot in the Americas, they began a process of translating the world from their own point of view as integral to imperialism and taking over the land, resources, and Indians' labor for their own uses (Pratt, 1992). They used travelers' tales and images to support colonial hierarchies, placing men above women, and whites above Indians (Pratt, 1992; Mignolo and Schiwy, 2000). Consider, for instance, the famous image drawn by Jan van der Straet, in which he portrays the "discovery of America" as a sexual encounter between a European man and a Native woman (McClintock, 1995). In the image, the explorer, Vespucci, stands erect before a naked, erotically alluring woman who lounges in a hammock. She leans toward him with an outreached hand, communicating sexual desire and surrender. Caught in his gaze, the Native woman is vulnerable and his sexual advances are assumed to be welcome. Vespucci will, of course, inseminate her and the land that she represents with European ideas. In this way, he will civilize the wilderness (Ibid.). By exuding his power as a white male over the savage Indian woman, this representation supports racial as well as gender hierarchies, encouraging domination and its related potential for violence.

Furthermore, Eurocentric tales described Native Americans in racialized terms as polluted and dirty, which encouraged violence against Indian women. In California, for example, Indians were viewed as remarkably dirty, ugly, and dark-complexioned. Hilton Rowan Helper's 1855 novel, The Land of Gold." Reality, Versus Fiction, describes Indians as disgusting and dirty. He writes, "partially wrapped in filthy rags, with their persons unwashed, hair uncombed and swarming with vermin, they may be seen loitering about the kitchens and slaughter-houses waiting to seize upon and devour like hungry wolves such offal or garbage as may be thrown to them" (Almaguer, 1994:112). These Eurocentric imaginings contributed to the extermination of California Indians, who evoked such strong expressions of repulsion and contempt (Almaguer, 1994: Hurtado, 1988; Rawls, 1984). Whites saw them as so primitive that they were more like animals than human beings. William Perkins, a white miner, described California Indian women as naked, dwarfish creatures around four feet tall. with heavy thighs, skinny, long arms, and pendant breasts. This description of these women, similar to early travelers' narratives, is more mythic in character than one of flesh-and-blood human beings. Dame Shirley, a female observer of mining camp life, for example, compared Indian women to witches. She described them as very ugly and haggard (Hurtado, 1988: 174-175). This loss of humanity made Indian extinction and extermination very desirable.

For example, in 1851 the California governor, Peter H. Burnett, assured the legislature that "... a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct" (Almaguer, 1994: 121). Whites thought Indian peoples' extinction would purify and cleanse California of a group of very repulsive creatures (Hurtado, 1988; Rawls, 1984). They felt they must rid themselves of Indian people, an abominable contamination. Genocidal violence, therefore, became justified (Hurtado, 1988; Rawls, 1984; Smith, 1999).

In contrast, the exhibit organizers' notion of translation is to disrupt these damaging colonial representations (Ramirez, 1998; 2001). Transculturation, argue Mignolo and Schiwy (2000), must be used to remove translation from its linguistic conception and begin to move beyond colonial hierarchies or dichotomies. (2) Transculturation assumes that cultures are porous and that there are no zones of cultural purity, because there is a constant sharing between groups (Rosaldo, 2002; Pratt. 1992; Mignolo and Schiwy, 2000). Similarly, the recoding process of activists in an American Indian Holocaust exhibit was not based so much on language translation, but on the assumption of transculturation that Indians and non-Indians need to share their cultures and perspectives. For instance, they taught the public to view dominant images and history from Native perspectives and to learn tribal philosophies of respect to heal from the American Indian Holocaust (Ramirez, 1998; 2001).

The American Indian Alliance in San Jose, California, created this exhibit as a community intervention. It opened for a week or so each year starting in 1995 and ended in 1997. Al Cross, a Mandan-Hidatsa, led a group of Indian and non-Indian activists who organized the exhibit. (3) They ultimately challenged the silencing of violence against Indian women by confronting its colonial roots. Their challenge is crucial, since violence against Indian women continues today throughout the Americas. There is a high incidence of such violence in Indian communities throughout the United States and in countries such as Guatemala. In a 1982 massacre of Mayan people in Guatemala, 177 Indian women and children were killed and the young women were raped in front of their mothers (Smith, 1999). Since colonization, Indian women and their children have suffered far too much at the hands of their attackers. Thus, this exhibit on Indian women is an important initiative that needs to continue and be organized in other places and communities to begin to change our violent culture. The next section describes the 1996 Holocaust Exhibit, using an excerpt from my field notes.

American Indian Holocaust Exhibit (4)

Beams of yellowish light illuminated large representations of genocide in the otherwise darkened community center. Fifty or so woodcuts showed soldiers hanging Indians alive, dogs tearing apart their bodies, soldiers cutting off their hands, and Natives battling the invaders with spears. In the middle of these pictures of terror and brutality was an exhibit on Indian women. The words of strength and resistance of Owanah Anderson, a Choctaw, constituted the first display. Next was Alfred Jacob Miller's painting, The Trapper's Bride. After this were sepiatoned photographs of Indian women from the U.S. Southeast. One photo was of Mrs. Sampson, a Catawba craftswoman, taken in 1920. Holding a clay mug, she stares into the camera with determined eyes. Another was of Margaret Brown, another Catawba, also photographed in 1920. Wearing a gingham dress, she sits on a wooden rocking chair and her arms dangle limply at her sides. The next was of Winona Williams, a Caddo, photographed in 1978. She stands in a dance arena, dressed in ceremonial clothes. The following 1919 photo was of a Seminole mother and daughter, both wearing traditional Seminole clothing. These two had no names. The next was of two women, weaving baskets, both Mississippi Band of the Choctaw. There were no names or dates identifying these two. The 1920 photo of Je, a Cherokee midwife, sitting in front of a wood-framed house, was the last image. A scarf covers her head and another is wrapped around her neck. Her eyes are closed and she is dressed in a nice coat. In the rest of the exhibit, there were many maps. One had the names of the explorers, Hernando de Soto, Juan Ponce de Leon, and Christopher Columbus, next to the dates and sites of their invasion of Indian lands. A second described "De Soto's Trail of Destruction." A third illustrated the removal of Native American tribes to Oklahoma. A fourth portrayed the sites of the worst epidemic outbreaks for Indian people. A fifth chronicled the gradual depletion of Indian lands and the locations of Indian reservations. At the end of the exhibit, a huge map of the Americas, painted in green, was draped from the floor to the ceiling (Field notes, May 22, 1996).

Healing and Indian Women

This portion of the exhibit on Indian women worked on two fronts. One was to challenge existing dominant representations about Indian women. The other was to place Indian women's lives and roles in a historical context. Healing is inextricably linked to learning about indigenous women's history and experience and to inserting a gendered analysis into images that were drawn through a white, masculinist lens.

A color photocopy of Alfred Jacob Miller's 1845 oil painting, The Trapper's Bride, was put on display. This image of an Indian maiden resembles Disney's version of Pocahontas. Wearing a white, knee-length buckskin dress, her straight black hair flows down the back of her dress. Her hand reaches out for the hand of the trapper. In the background, a bare-chested, dark Indian woman cowers in the corner of the picture (Ramirez, 1998; 2001). This painting is a symbolic portrayal of the marriage between civilization and the wilderness. The image of the Indian princess represents the uncivilized West in need of the domesticating influence of the civilized white male (McLerran, 1994). A caption beneath the image translated the painting for the public, stating that the image supported the dominant assumption that Indian women chose to have romantic relationships with white men (Ramirez, 1998; 2001).

Suzanne Johnson, (5) a Stanford University student, and a non-Indian, discussed why she chose to place Miller's painting on the exhibit wall next to a quote about history and pictures of Indian women. She said:
 I wanted to put it [the painting] in some kind of context of how it
 all had been distorted. That just so struck me. This is so
 ridiculous. The painting was how we see history. That's how history
 is taught in the schools. That would be a common picture if you were
 talking about Pocahontas. You see this young maiden. To show how
 deep the gap of what we are taught [about history] and what really
 went on. Present the public with something they could relate to.
 Okay, I have seen this before. Then go to the next pictures and
 the quote about how understanding our history is so important. I
 wanted people to see how that really translated. To watch how
 distorted our views are. How people still have a romanticized idea
 of what went on that they [Indian women] were just given away to
 white men (Field notes, May 22, 1996).

By showing the difference between dominant and Indian-oriented perspectives of history, Suzanne hoped that the public would become conscious of their own Eurocentric distortions and then understand that Indian women had been wrongly represented. Thus, she worked to translate a colonial portrayal of Native American women and to decolonize knowledge (Ramirez, 1998; 2001).

In fact, the exhibit organizers challenged the silencing of violence against Indian women by placing the words of a Spaniard, Michele de Cuneo, who traveled with Christopher Columbus, on the walls of the community center. His words, typed onto a white sheet of paper, were:
 I captured a very beautiful Carib woman who the admiral [Christopher
 Columbus] gave to me.... I wanted to put my desire into execution....
 She did not want it and treated me with her fingernails.... I took a
 rope and thrashed her well.... She raised such unheard screams
 (Field notes, May 22, 1996).

While European men traveled to "mysterious" worlds, they feminized the land as they passed through them. Sailors fastened wooden female figures to the bows of their ships and baptized them with female names (McClintock 1995). They drew maps with images of mermaids and explorers called unknown land "virgin" territory. This "virgin" land was described as empty of inhabitants, ready to be claimed by European powers. This "emptiness" gave the invaders the "right" to establish sovereignty over any piece of territory. Colonial representations tied women's bodies to the land and viewed them as open, "rapeable," inviting male penetration and exploration (Ibid.). Hence, Cuneo's words were not about sex, but about power and control of Indian women and the land. Michele kept this Indian woman, like the land, incarcerated within his sexual fantasy. Without shame, he beat her and is somehow surprised by her screams. He does not view her as a human being capable of feelings, but as an object to help him put his "desire into execution." By highlighting this rape of an Indian woman, the exhibit humanized her and, in this way, decolonized knowledge (Ramirez, 1998; 2001).

Organizers placed photographs of Indian women from books on the exhibit wall as another healing strategy. This presented a challenge for the activists, as photography is linked to colonialism. Historically, photography was used to weaken and gain control of Indian people and their land by stereotyping us and placing white people in the foreground. We are surrounded by images of mascots, Indian warriors, Indian maidens, and squaw drudges. (6) They tell dominant stories. One is the Indian as victim, stuck between two worlds, in charge of none. Another is the seductive Indian woman, a sexual fantasy who is often bare-breasted and positioned next to a white man (Hill, 1996). Edward Curtis, the famous photographer, manipulated his Indian subjects in other ways. He wanted to freeze Native Americans into his own notion of a static, traditional past to capture our "vanishing" culture before it all disappeared. He also manipulated his Indian subjects, dressing them in "traditional" garb and taking modern-day objects, such as hats, umbrellas, and suspenders, out of the photographs. This froze Indians in linear time, in the past, and they were no longer part of the contemporary world (Vizenor, 1990). This exhibit on Indian women attempted to counter the damaging effects of photography.

A theme of resistance, for example, was interwoven throughout the exhibit on Indian women by enlarging and placing Indian women's words on the community center wall. A Choctaw woman, Owanah Anderson's words, for example, said:
 We survived manifest destiny; we survived White men's diseases; we
 survived the Trail of Tears, which was trod by many of our
 foremothers. We survived corrupt Indian agents and insensitive White
 schoolteachers. We survived poverty and pestilence and federal
 bureaucracy. We not only survived, but we now no longer think of
 ourselves as a defeated people. Instead, a rejuvenated spirit
 prevails across the length and breadth of Indian country; a
 contagious resurgence that combines the best of the old and the
 best of the new. We women shall prevail. We shall prevail as
 Indian women. We'll move together to new horizons (Field notes,
 May 22, 1996).

These words were vital in an exhibit hall covered with images of genocide and violence. Having only representations of genocide could give the public the mistaken impression that Indians have all been exterminated. To the contrary, Anderson writes that Indians have survived the American Indian Holocaust and are fighting back with renewed energy and spirit. Combining "the old and the best of the new," Anderson argues that a cultural resurgence can help Indian women to resist, survive, and flourish.

Indian women's faces from different tribes also were placed on the exhibit wall and their roles as midwives, artists, basket weavers, horticulturists, and bearers of tradition in tribal communities were highlighted. The caption placed beneath a sepia-toned photo of Margaret Brown, a Catawba woman (1920), read:
 Catawba women implemented a well-planned, advantageous system of
 horticulture in which three crops were planted together in every
 hill, rathe, than in separate fields. The hills prevented soil
 erosion, preserved fertility, made weeding easier, and were well
 suited for corn--a sacred crop (Field notes, May 22, 1996).

Another caption beneath the sepia-toned photo of Mrs. Sampson, a Catawba (1920), began:
 As early as 1922, Catawba women were going from house to house
 peddling their crafts to local farmers. These goods were in great
 demand and the financial profits were particularly important because
 the Indians' income from the deerskin trade had declined due to
 white encroachment (Field notes, May 22, 1996).

These portrayals oppose the distorted representation of Indian women as either Pocahontas or the savage squaw. They also tell a story of Indian women's power and status that contradicts the government's plan, since federal agents tried hard to disenfranchise us. Boarding schools, for instance, attempted to socialize Indian women to take on white women's roles, training them to become wives, dependent on their men (Lomawaima, 1995). In contrast, these captions assert Catawba women's diverse roles and power in their tribal community.

The juxtaposition of Miller's painting with these resistant images and words was another healing tactic. In the painting, the Indian maiden stands demurely, waiting to be given to the trapper. The bare-chested squaw drudge cowers in the corner. Both women are portrayed as passive and serve as metaphors for the land. As white men impregnate them, the wilderness is domesticated. Hence, the land becomes a symbol for sexual bondage. In contrast, the captions disrupt this colonial representation by emphasizing Indian women's roles as horticulturists, who tilled the soil and provided food for their tribal communities. Land is transformed into a sign of Indian women's power and status. This transformation of the symbolic meaning of the land from captivity to social power exemplifies a shift from a colonized model to an autonomous position. It also asserts the sovereign right of Indian women to their land and social power.

This ideological shift helps to protect Indian women from violence. Travelers' tales portrayed Indian women as connected to the land and as passive, open receptacles for the seeds of male imperialism that encouraged European males to rape and violate them. Once Indian women are seen as rightful inheritors and tillers of the soil, who are active, full human beings, and no longer represented as passive receptacles for male penetration, these damaging assumptions are undermined. As a result, Indian women become less vulnerable to violence and assault.

The resistant images assert a matrilineal/matriarchal version of reality ultimately and interrupt the damaging effect of patriarchy supported by the Miller painting. In the sepia-tone photograph of the Seminole mother and daughter, for instance, the baby relaxes comfortably in her mother's lap. They both wear traditional clothing. Beautiful ribbons encircle their blouses. The caption beneath this photo explains that Seminole women have been pivotal in the teaching of tribal cultural knowledge. In the Miller painting, Indian women are described as props, dependent on the needs of white men. In another photo, Je, the midwife, sits in a chair alone in front of her wooden house. This image struck me. During my dissertation research in San Jose, California, Indian people discussed their move from the reservation to the city as part of the federal government's policy of relocation. A federal official would show them a picture of a middle-class home with a well-dressed mother, father, and a child standing in front. It illustrated the government's vision of a proper family, a nuclear, middle-class one with the father in charge. This image of Je, alone in front of her home, told me a very different narrative. Indian women could be in control of the home and occupy roles that are not dependent on men. The caption beneath the image supported this idea: "Indian midwives enjoyed great esteem for their role in ushering in new generations."

Another healing approach was the display of photos of Indian women elders. In the dominant society, elders are cast out of the social body (Young, 1990). Older women are seen as ugly and sick, and have no place. The aged are supposed to retire. In contrast, these Indian women have very significant social roles. One is a midwife and one is a potter. The black and white portrait, taken in 1978, is of another elder, Winona Williams, a Caddo. She stands in a dance arena in traditional clothes and is represented as an important actor in Caddo cultural life. This image challenges the dominant notion that Indians and their culture are extinct.

Some of the images were not fully translated, however. In some, Indian women had no names. In others, the absence of dates next to the photographs situated them within a timeless space. Native Americans are considered in the academy and popular culture as lacking significant history (White, 1998). This places them on the lower rung, below whites who are civilized and subsequently have a history. The use of sepia-toned images was also problematic. It supports the notion that Indian women inhabit an ancient past, no longer part of the modern world. More discussion about the hegemonic implications of these images in the captions would have increased their healing potential. For example, more analysis of the colonial imagery within The Trapper's Bride would have educated the public to a greater degree about its negative implications.

The work of these activists to translate colonial images is crucial. Dominant society is all too comfortable in its constant imposition of colonized identities on Indian women through popular and academic culture. We must continually struggle to sort through and cast off stereotypical constructions that make us vulnerable to racism, sexism, and violence. Part of this effort must be to teach others to analyze and reject these distortions.

Transnational Spirituality and Healing

The exhibit space disrupted colonial images and tales. It was also a site for transnational spirituality as another means for Indian women to heal from historical trauma. (7) Before I discuss their use of ceremony, I must first define the term transnational, since its most common usage is the experience of crossing the border of the nation-state. (8) Native people consider themselves to be a collectivity whether we are physically displaced from our Indian lands or discursively marginalized from the nation-state. Thus, I define transnational to include the experience of Indian people who cross the border of their tribal nations and maintain a sense of a collective identity (Ramirez, 2002). My definition also incorporates Indians who are not officially acknowledged and are seeking federal acknowledgment (Slagle, 1989), since they also live away from a land base, and retain a collective identity. (9) Now, I will turn the use of transnational spirituality by these activists.

Duran, Duran, and Brave Heart (1998) discuss the importance of Indian people participating in culturally relevant rituals to begin to move forward from the American Indian Holocaust. The Lakota, for instance, used a tribal approach for individual, family, and community-wide healing. They participated in the Wokiksuye (Bigfoot) and Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull) Horseback Ride that retraced the steps of the Miniconju and the Hunkpapa massacred at Wounded Knee. The Lakota model used group sharing, testimony, ritual, catharsis, expression of traditional culture and ritual, and communal mourning. Education about historical trauma, they found, increases people's awareness of its effects and the process of sharing within a Lakota context leads to a cathartic sense of relief (Ibid.). They also discuss the difficulty of finding tribally specific medicine people in urban areas and suggest that the medicine people available need to generalize their interventions so that Indian people from other tribes can understand them (Ibid.). In this urban context, activists relied on Sundancers to lead prayers asking for healing from the American Indian Holocaust.

During the exhibit, Native spiritual leaders offered a blessing each evening before poets, scholars, and community members discussed the American Indian Holocaust. One evening, Mary Hyatt (Apache) blessed the area with sage smoke. Mary and her husband Jack (Cherokee/African-American) are part of a group within the San Jose area that travels every summer and are welcomed to participate in Sundance ceremonies on different reservations. Although these Indians are not practicing their own tribal religious traditions, they are engaged in Lakota spirituality away from the reservation. Hence, I call their ceremonial practice transnational spirituality.

Mary Hyatt offered a blessing to the four directions and prayed for each woman nation. When she prayed for all women to heal from a history of violence, her voice cracked and tears streamed down her cheeks. She provided the gathered group of men, women, and children with a chance to grieve, since violence against Indian women is rarely acknowledged. Her blessing exposed the hurt that Indian women have had to suffer through. She pointed to her womb and prayed for healing. From my perspective, this was her strategy to begin to heal the very site of Indian women's historical injury (Ramirez, 1998; 2001). By facing and understanding this historical trauma, Indian women could learn to reject the constant colonial onslaught against us.

Hyatt's prayer and the exhibit taught me some of the essential steps we need to begin to heal from this historical legacy of violence. The first is to acknowledge that violence against Indian women exists. The second is to open up these emotional wounds and grieve. The third is to understand how colonialism has traumatized Indian women (see Smith, 1999). The fourth is to guide our thinking with Native philosophies of respect rather than Eurocentric distortions that condone violence against Indian women. In these ways, these activists' approach to healing can help Indian women move forward from the damaging effects of colonialism. Furthermore, once Indian women heal from historical trauma, they can potentially become politicized and begin to change the world around them.

Missionaries and government officials in the boarding schools worked hard to deny to generations of Indian people our indigenous spiritual expression (Lomawaima, 1995; Forbes, 1982; Milliken, 1995). Restoring and recovering Native spiritual practices becomes central to Indians' assertion of our right to maintain our own cultures, identities, and tribal nations. Similarly, Hyatt's prayer reminds us that struggles for tribal sovereignty must recognize the common reality of violence against Indian women in urban communities. Without recognizing this pervasive violence on and off the reservation, tribal sovereignty is not inclusive of the Native female experience and is only understood from an Indian male perspective (Smith, 1999).

Mary Hyatt prayed for the women nations, the four races, symbolized by the colors yellow, red, black, and white. This prayer encouraged the audience to think about the significance of healing the human family--that women from all colors have had to endure a legacy of historical violence. Hyatt relied on Native spirituality to express a sense of connection between all women. Her prayer used the all-too-common experience of violence to support communication (Ramirez, 1998; 2001). This spiritual philosophy emphasizes the importance of relatedness rather than separation (Forbes, 2001). The reality of difference within this philosophy is based on a sense of respect, not on hierarchy that encourages processes of marginalization that support violence against Indian women and genocide. Furthermore, this sense of relatedness between each of the women nations can help us to come together to organize and fight against the pervasive violence against all women.

The exhibit was an interactive space in which Indian, Chicano, and white activists came together to decolonize knowledge. Knowledge flowed from indigenous people to non-Indian activists and from women to men. Working in multicultural environments can be a tense and difficult process. Within feminist projects, for example, organizing across racial and ethnic boundaries has often broken down into conflict and political inaction (Fellows and Razack, 1998). White women often fail to comprehend how they are implicated in other women's subordination. They frequently do not understand how their own experience of privilege can be implicated within feelings of innocence (Ibid.). In contrast, Al Cross, an instructor of Indian history at one of the local community colleges, facilitated a process in which the holocaust group could work across difference. Without traversing these boundaries, there cannot be a widespread societal change, and Indian women will continue to live in a dominant culture that supports violence against us.


The power of colonial images and tales that influence reality must be underscored. To heal from this very harmful legacy, we constantly need to tell histories, images, and stories of Indian women that offer positive alternatives to degrading colonial representations. This could include (as the exhibit does) placing images of Indian women in public places and frequent discussion of Indian women's history and roles. Recovering and encouraging Native spiritual practices can also provide Indian women with a means to nurture and heal. These cultural approaches emphasize the importance of translation and transculturation as important strategies for Indian women to recover from the American Indian Holocaust. They also demonstrate that Native philosophy and points of view must inform our thinking so that we can one day decolonize a culture that has sanctioned violence against us.

This exhibit on Indian women should be greatly expanded and emphasized since Native women's histories and experiences must become firmly implanted within a community's memory and minds. Greater use of captions to translate and discuss the dominant images could increase this exhibit's healing potential. Nothing is more important than to challenge men to interrogate the relationship between their desire for domination over others and dominant notions of masculinity, especially those related to male sexual prowess. For Native women, this interrogation of male dominance would be inadequate, however, without attending to the intertwined nature of race, gender, sovereignty, and the history of colonialism (see Smith, 1999).


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(1.) It is inadequate to conceptualize violence against Indian women as merely a tool of patriarchy. since this violence has served as a primary mechanism of colonialism to take over Indian land, labor, and resources for European uses (Smith, 1999).

(2.) See Clifford's (1997) analysis of translation. See also Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird (1997), two Native scholars, and their discussion of translation. They emphasize the need to "reinvent the enemy's language" to remove from the English language terms that have been used to dominate Indian people.

(3.) The organization of this exhibit is an example of transcommunality as theorized by John Brown Childs (2003), a Native/African-American scholar. Transcommunality refers to instances in which communities organize across differences to support social change.

(4.) See also Renya Ramirez (1998, 2001). In these prior publications, I discuss the exhibit overall. Here I focus my analysis on the portion of the exhibit about Native American women.

(5.) Suzanne Johnson is a pseudonym used to protect this woman's privacy.

(6.) See Rayna Green's (1990) discussion of Pocahontas and squaw drudge.

(7.) Braveheart (1995: 6) defines historical trauma as the "collective and compounding emotional and psychic wounding over time," which is "multi-generational and is not limited to [one's individual] life span."

(8.) For example, Basch et al. (1994: 7) define transnationalism as "the process by which immigrants forge and sustain multi-stranded social relations that link together their societies of origin and settlement." Thus, these authors base their definition on the experience of immigrants who cross the boundaries of nation-states.

(9.) My decision to use the term transnational is not just a trendy replacement for the term pan-tribal tribal, which assumes a loss of tribal differences in exchange for an ethnic Indian identity (Straus and Valentino, 1998), but also reflects my conscious choice to engage in recent work on transnationalism (see Besserer, 2002; Rivera-Salgado, 2000; Kearny and Nagengast, 1989; Kearny, 1995; Glick Schiller et at., 1992), as well as the important discussion of tribes' nation-to-nation relationships in Native American Studies (see Deloria and Lyric, 1984). 1 use the term transnationalism to emphasize that many indigenous people maintain connections with tribal communities and important senses of Indian culture, community, identity, and belonging while living away from their land bases as part of the Native American diaspora (Besserer, 2002; Rivera-Salgado, 2000; Peters, 1995; Clifford, 1997). Diaspora usually means the process of imagining and keeping relationships with communities that share a similar culture, history, and identity (Hall, 1990; Siu, 2001). It generally comprises two kinds of communities: an ethnic-cultural community located in one nation-state and a transnational network of these identical communities in different nation-states (Siu, 2001). The term Native American diaspora, 1 argue, not only refers to landless Natives' imagining and maintaining connections with their tribal communities, but also the development of intertribal networks and connections within and across different nation-states.

RENYA K. RAMIREZ is a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. She is Assistant Professor in American Studies, U.C. Santa Cruz (Oakes Faculty Services, Santa Cruz, CA 95064; e-mail: Her research interests include urban Indians, gendered cultural citizenship, and transnationalism.
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Title Annotation:social history
Author:Ramirez, Renya
Publication:Social Justice
Date:Dec 22, 2004
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