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The Transit of EmpireIndigenous Critiques of Colonialism$
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Jodi A. Byrd

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676408

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676408.001.0001

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Killing States

Killing States

Removals, Other Americans, and the “Pale Promise of Democracy”

(p.185) 6 Killing States
The Transit of Empire

Jodi A. Byrd

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter presents a reading of Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange. It considers discussions of multiculturalism in Los Angeles at the end of the twentieth century to understand how narratives of race and indigeneity within the United States have been recycled to provide a justifying logic for the transit of empire mapped onto Asian American bodies. It analyzes how indigenous peoples are discursively transformed into immigrants, while Asian Americans simultaneously become both cowboys and Indians as a means to police difference within liberal multicultural settler colonialism. The chapter concludes with a reading of Gerald Vizenor’s Hiroshima Bugi, which considers the linkages between American Indian history and the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II in order to reframe victim narratives within colonial and imperial logics.

Keywords:   Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange, multiculturalism, Los Angeles, indigeneity, Asian Americans, transit of empire, settler colonialism, Gerald Vizenor, Hiroshima Bugi

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