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The Erotics of SovereigntyQueer Native Writing in the Era of Self-Determination$
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Mark Rifkin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677825

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677825.001.0001

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Landscapes of Desire

Landscapes of Desire

Melancholy, Memory, and Fantasy in Deborah Miranda’s The Zen of La Llorona

(p.93) 2 Landscapes of Desire
The Erotics of Sovereignty

Mark Rifkin

University of Minnesota Press

In 1978, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) adopted a set of procedures to recognize Native peoples as tribes for the purposes of inclusion within the regulations and protections of federal Indian law. Such an act presents the fact that having a way to acknowledge peoples as tribes promises redemption from the bad, monocultural past. The recognition process does more than set the terms and dimensions of the particular legal status of “Indian tribe”; it regulates acceptable forms of collective desire and ways of portraying the relationship between the past and the present. This chapter cites Deborah Miranda’s work, The Zen of La Llorona, which demonstrates forms of Indigenous subjectivity that exceed the parameters of federal recognition. Miranda’s poetry uses figures of absence and landscape to represent how seemingly individual states of feeling record a collective history of survival-in-erasure.

Keywords:   Bureau of Indian Affairs, Native tribes, Indian tribe, The Zen of La Llorona, Deborah Miranda, Indigenous subjectivity, survival-in-erasure

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