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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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Genealogies of Indianness

Genealogies of Indianness

The Errancies of Peoplehood in Greg Sarris’s Watermelon Nights

Chapter:
(p.153) 3 Genealogies of Indianness
Source:
The Erotics of Sovereignty
Author(s):

Mark Rifkin

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816677825.003.0004

This chapter focuses on what constitutes Indianness, what entities count as Indian, and more importantly, the question of how this characterization of entities as Indian work in holding the challenge they pose to the self-evidence of U.S. jurisdiction over Indigenous peoples and lands. Genealogy appears crucial in answering this issue, since representing Indianness as a function of marriage and descent places it within existing U.S. notions of racial identity. Greg Sarris’s Watermelon Nights examines how state regimes construct narratives of Native family identity and history. These narratives respond to state-sanctioned forms of assault and erasure by establishing Native authenticity as an endangered characteristic that needs to be preserved.

Keywords:   Indianness, genealogy, Indigenous peoples, racial identity, Watermelon Nights, Greg Sarris, Native authenticity

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