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Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory by Qwo-Li Driskill

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This is an important book, probably a transformative book for some. Citing the journals some of the first Europeans who encountered Cherokees, including those on the DeSota and Juan Pardo expeditions, and of Henry Timberlake, William Bartrum and James Adair, Driskill re-examines the history of the Cherokees in light to their own view of sexuality and the way that Europeans saw the Cherokees and how Cherokee concepts of sexuality and same sex relationship have evolved. Driskill comes right out and states explicitly that “’gender’ is a weapon to force us into clear Eurocentric categories, keep us confined in there, ensure we monitor each other’s behavior, and then, when we are distracted, take our lands.” He goes on to say, “These colonial logics mean that when we look at our past, we ‘straighten’ it: we make heterosexist and gender-binary assumptions about our ancestors and render a more complicated, erotic, and joyous history invisible” (p. 167). Driskill states, “Regulations of sexuality and anti-Black racism in Cherokee history are inseparable” (p135). The connections between the control of our bodies, sexualities, genders, and landbases as Native people and the control of the bodies, sexualities, genders, and landbases of Black people are inseparable. We all bear the legacies of genocide, land theft, and slavery. We all have a responsibility to each other and to our decolonial imagining to work in alliance” (p. 168).

Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2016. 210 pages with an index, works cited, notes and photos. Trade paperback