“The Doors of Immorality Were Set Wide Open by State Authority”: Violence Against Indigenous Women in the Jacksonian Southeast, 1830-1840
Noelle Marie Iati
Sarah Lawrence College, US
Noelle Marie Iati (they/she) is an independent scholar of women's and gender history and a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. They are currently based on Canarsie/Lenape land. This paper constitutes a portion of their thesis research, which addressed gender(ed) violence as a settler-colonial strategy of the United States government throughout the 19th century, with particular focus on American law and policy. Their research interests lie in the use and abuse of women’s bodies in imperial formation.
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.
How to Cite:
Iati, Noelle Marie. 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: http://doi.org/10.25894/eih.205
09 Apr 2022.