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“How do you say I love you in Ojibwe?”: Embodying resurgent desires & sexualities

December 21, 2015

Photo credit: Louis Esmé, Mi’kmaq-Acadian/Irish

Editor’s note: This artist’s statement kicks off a new series of poetry and short stories, written by Geraldine King. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to be publishing a  series of poems and stories, each exploring themes of love, sexuality, and decolonization. At the end of the series, the collection will be available to download in its entirety. We’re excited to be featuring these, and we hope you’ll follow along with us!


by Geraldine King

Love and sensuality are sometimes tricky subjects in Indigenous country. Colonialism and ongoing settler occupation have relied on the stifling of Indigenous sexes, sexualities and sensualities and it is not enough to resurge against colonization or to defy colonial order. We must implicitly take back our bodies to unravel the very essence of settler oppression, which are the acts of disciplining our bodies in order to occupy the land. While writing about love and sexualities interrogates white settler heteropatriarchal capitalist state regimes, it is also important to place our own communities and social order in the complex rubric of oppressive colonial apparatuses. We cannot merely indigenize spaces, we must queer Indigeneity and, in particular, queer the ways in which we approach decolonial ontologies and futurisms.

In these lights, the following poems, short stories and spoken word pieces are intended to: place ambiguity within the normative assumptions of binary gendered relationships; call to question the sometimes dogmatic nature of cultural traditions; and, bring queerness, humour and Indigenous feminisms into the decolonial milieu. At its core, resurgence is about bringing our languages, knowledge, intuitions and intelligences to the forefront of Indigenous futurity. At the same time, resurgence is also about leaving oppressive cultural relics in the past so that vibrant individuals may instinctively coalesce to generate dynamic, strong and everlasting nations and communities, free from cultural policing, socio-political corporeal discipline and heteronormative harm.

Resistance is ultimately about love. We must love to resist.

Geraldine King is Anishinaabekwe from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (Gull Bay First Nation). Geraldine is a Master’s student in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria where her primary research interests are centred on Indigenous erotica as viable resurgent governance praxis. Geraldine is the Managing Editor of Intercontinental Cry Magazine, a publication of the Centre for World Indigenous Studies.

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