Drag, Demons, and Dirt: Centering Indigenous Thought in Critiques of Prairie Queer Settler Colonialism

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Willes, Brett Cassady
Indigenous Studies , Settler Colonialism , Queer , Prairie
My thesis takes as its central question ongoing colonialism in white queer settler affective and discursive relationships to the prairies and to “home.” I engage with the works of queer and feminist Indigenous theorists, poets, and arts by the likes of Gregory Scofield, Adrian Stimson, Erica Violet Lee, Zoe Todd, Billy-Ray Belcourt in order to fully articulate my critique of queer settler colonialism. I observe how white queer settlers experience their queerness as an obstacle to full and immediate participation in the settler colonial project, which hinges on cis and heteronormativity, and then recuperate their belonging through queer articulations of colonial claims to home on occupied Indigenous lands. Over the course of this project, I also notice how whiteness mobilizes both anti-Black racism and Indigenous dispossession. In order to investigate these white queer affective attachments to home, I work closely with cultural production made by white queer settlers from Edmonton and Calgary, specifically works by Darrin Hagen, Trevor Anderson, and Rae Spoon. I find it necessary to take these books, films, and music seriously as they are located within and reproduce larger systems of settler colonialism.
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