Reclaiming Indigenous Sexual Being: Sovereignty and Decolonization Through Sexuality

  • Madeline Mackenzie Lynn Burns UVIC
Keywords: Sovereign Erotic; Indigenous; sexuality; resurgence; Vancouver


This paper illustrates Indigenous sexual being on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam),
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, through a narrative of resurgence
and sovereignty. Discussions regarding Indigenous sexual being in Vancouver within scholarship and
media tend to share a single story which focuses narrowly on a theme of violence. This paper utilizes
the Indigenous concept of a Sovereign Erotic (Driskill, 2004) to illustrate how sexuality can be used as a
sovereignty practice. I exemplify this concept as an active practice of decolonization through erotics by
exploring the works of Virago Nation, an all-Indigenous burlesque group. This paper works to expose
narratives of colonization and gendered violence in Vancouver, in order to share a competing narrative
of sovereignty through sexuality. This narrative of sovereignty provides a broader scope of Indigenous
sexuality in Vancouver by including those who reflect resurgence, reclamation, and hope.


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