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“The Doors of Immorality Were Set Wide Open by State Authority”: Violence Against Indigenous Women in the Jacksonian Southeast, 1830-1840

Abstract

This paper looks at the role of sexual violence in the removal of Native nations in what is now the American Southeast during the nineteenth century. I contend that gender violence played a pivotal role in Indian removal and that local, state, and federal governments all actively deployed sexual assault and other forms of gendered terror as methods of removing Indigenous peoples to reservations in Oklahoma. Removal, enabled by sexual violence, opened Indigenous lands to settlement and resource exploitation for the purpose of acquiring wealth and power for both individuals and the state itself. Through the lens of critical Indigenous feminist studies and utilizing the theories of Indigenous woman scholars, I have made connections between historical violence and the current crisis of violence against Indigenous women, girls, queer, trans, and two spirit people, and, in particular, their abduction and murder, colloquially known as MMIWGQ2ST. While my research is oftentimes quite dark, I highlight the survivance of Indigenous women and girls and the hope on the horizon for decolonization, justice, and healing.

Keywords

indigenous women, mmiw, missing and murdered indigenous women, nineteenth century american history, native american history

How to Cite

Iati, N., (2022) ““The Doors of Immorality Were Set Wide Open by State Authority”: Violence Against Indigenous Women in the Jacksonian Southeast, 1830-1840”, Essays in History 55(1), 1-25. doi: https://doi.org/10.25894/eih.205

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Authors

Noelle Marie Iati (Sarah Lawrence College)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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