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			Legacies, Identities, Regeneration

			Edited by

			Robert Alexander Innes and Kim Anderson

		 			University of Manitoba Press

			Winnipeg, Manitoba

			Canada R3T 2M5

			© The Authors 2015

			Printed in Canada

			Text printed on chlorine-free, 100% post-consumer recycled paper

			19 18 17 16 15 1 2 3 4 5

			All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database and retrieval system in Canada, without the prior written permission of the University of Manitoba Press, or, in the case of photocopying or any other reprographic copying, a licence from Access Copyright (Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency). For an Access Copyright licence, visit, or call 1-800-893-5777.

			Cover photo by Thosh Collins

			Cover design: Marvin Harder

			Interior design: Karen Armstrong Graphic Design

			Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

			Indigenous men and masculinities : legacies, identities, regeneration/ Kim Anderson, and Robert Alexander Innes, editors.

			Includes bibliographical references.

			Issued in print and electronic formats.

			 ISBN 978-0-88755-790-3 (pbk.)

			ISBN 978-0-88755-479-7 (pdf )

			ISBN 978-0-88755-477-3 (epub)

			1. Native men—Canada—Social conditions. 2. Native men—Canada— Psychology. 3. Native peoples—Kinship—Canada. 4. Masculinity—Social aspects—Canada. I. Anderson, Kim, 1964–, editor II. Innes, Robert Alexander, editor

			E98.M44I53 2015 305.38’897071 C2015-903456-6 C2015-903457-4

			The University of Manitoba Press gratefully acknowledges the financial support for its publication program provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage, Tourism, the Manitoba Arts Council, and the Manitoba Book Publishing Tax Credit.


			List of Tables

			List of Illustra; tions

			Introduction: Who’s Walking with Our Brothers?

			Robert Alexander Innes and Kim Anderson

			I. Theoretical Considerations

			1. Reconstructing Indigenous Masculine Thought

			Bob Antone

			2. Cutting to the Roots of Colonial Masculinity

			Scott L. Morgensen

			3. Complementary Relationships: A Review of Indigenous Gender Studies

			Leah Sneider

			4. Taxonomies of Indigeneity: Indigenous Heterosexual Patriarchal Masculinity

			Brendan Hokowhitu

			II. Representations In Art And Literature

			5. Material of Masculinity: The 1832 and 1834 Portraits of Mató-Tópe, Mandan Chief

			Kimberly Minor

			6. Indigenous Masculinities Explored through Performance Art in Kingston, Ontario

			Erin Sutherland

			7. “Tales of Burning Love”: Female Masculinity in Contemporary Native Literature

			Lisa Tatonetti

			8. Oshki Ishkode, New Fire

			Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

			III. Living Indigenous Masculinities And Indigenous Manhood

			9. Patriotic Games: Boundaries and Masculinity in New Zealand Sport

			Phillip Borell

			10. Social Spaces of Maleness: The Role of Street Gangs in Practising Indigenous Masculinities

			Robert Henry

			11. Imprisonment and Indigenous Masculinity: Contesting Hegemonic Masculinity in a Toxic Environment

			Allison Piché

			12. Diné Masculinities, Relationships, Colonization, and Regenerating an Egalitarian Way of Life

			Lloyd L. Lee

			IV. Conversations

			13. “The Face of Ku:” A Dialogue on Hawaiian Warriorhood

			Ty P. Kāwika Tengan, with Thomas Ka’auwai Kaulukukui, Jr. and William Kahalepuna Richards, Jr.

			14. Strong Men Stories: A Roundtable on Indigenous Masculinities

			Sam McKegney, with Richard Van Camp, Warren Cariou, Gregory Scofield, and Daniel Heath Justice

			15. A Conversation with Crazy Indians

			Sasha Sky

			16. “To Arrive Speaking”: Voices from the Bidwewidam Indigenous Masculinities Project

			Kim Anderson, John Swift, and Robert Alexander Innes


			Selected Bibliography


List of Tables

			Table 0.1. Number of Indigenous victims of homicide in Canada, by sex and accused-victim relationship, 1997–2004

			Table 1.1. Violence in Indigenous communities

List of Illustrations

			Figure 1.1. Haudenosaunee Knowledge

			Figure 1.2. The Good Mind

			Figure 5.1. Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809–1893), Mató-Tópe (Four Bears), Mandan Chief, 1834, watercolour on paper, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, Gift of the Enron Art Foundation, 1986.49.383

			Figure 5.2. George Catlin (American, 1796–1872), Máh-to-tóh-pa, Four Bears, Second Chief, in Full Dress, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.128

			Figure 5.3. Mató-Tópe (Native American, Mandan, c. 1795–1837), Battle with a Cheyenne Chief, 1834, watercolour on paper, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, Gift of the Enron Art Foundation, 1986.49.384

			Figure 5.4. Mató-Tópe (Native American, Mandan, c. 1795–1837), Mato-Tope: Self-portrait; Holding Feather-covered Shield, with Pair of Ceremonial Lances Thrust into Ground, watercolour on paper, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, Gift of the Enron Art Foundation, 1986.49.318




Who’s Walking with Our Brothers?

			Robert Alexander Innes and Kim Anderson

			In June 2012, Métis artist Christi Belcourt put out a call for moccasin tops, known as “vamps,” as part of a project to honour the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The organizers had hoped to receive 600 vamps, but instead received over 1,800. The vamps were put together to form an art installation called Walking With Our Sisters that will end up travelling across Canada to nearly thirty locations by 2020. This initiative follows the work of other activists; for example, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) first reported the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in their 2008 report Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit, and NWAC has undertaken a very successful awareness campaign through its annual Sisters in Spirit Vigils held in many communities across Canada.1 The Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit, Sisters In Spirit Vigils, and the Walking With Our Sisters installation have brought national attention to the Indigenous women who have gone missing or who have been murdered in Canada.

			As these campaigns demonstrate, substantial attention has been focused on the struggles of Indigenous women, and rightfully so, considering their social and economic conditions. In comparison, however, there is a lack of theoretical and applied scholarly work about Indigenous men and masculinities. This reflects the fact that there is little activism or political will to address Indigenous men’s issues, and as a result there are very few policies or social programs designed for Indigenous men, including those who are trans-identified, as well as women who identify with Indigenous masculinities. There is, however, an emerging field of Indigenous masculinities studies, and this allows those of us involved to investigate an area that has been largely ignored.

			In many ways, the conditions of Indigenous men, though distinct, are similar to those of Indigenous women, but these conditions have not really been acknowledged beyond news reports of their criminal behaviour. Indigenous men also face the same sort of race and gender biases as do other men of colour, and this leads to a host of social issues for them and their communities. In Canada, for example, and in comparison to non-Indigenous Canadians, Indigenous men have shorter life spans,2 are less likely to graduate from high school,3 are more likely to be incarcerated,4 and are murdered at a higher rate. With the lack of political will and public awareness of Indigenous men and masculinities, we might well ask: Who is walking with our brothers?

			Indigenous men and those who identify with Indigenous masculinities, as this book shows, are faced with distinct gender and racial biases that cause many to struggle. This book of essays explores and seeks to deepen our understanding of the ways in which Indigenous men and those who assert an Indigenous male identity perform their masculine identities, why and how they perform them, and the consequences to them and others because of their attachment to those identities. As the authors in this volume clearly show, the performance of Indigenous masculinities has been profoundly impacted by colonization and the imposition of a white supremacist heteronormative patriarchy that has left a lasting and negative legacy for Indigenous women, children, Elders, men, and their communities as a whole. At the same time, this book details the regeneration of positive masculinities currently taking place in many communities that will assist in the restoration of balanced and harmonious relationships.

			One step toward achieving healthy Indigenous masculinities and communities includes reaching an understanding of how race and gender bias intersect to disadvantage Indigenous men, and how this disadvantaged position has had negative ramifications for Indigenous communities. In a January 2014 piece for Al Jazeera online, UCLA law professor Khaled Beydoun provides a discussion of the intersection of race and gender bias experienced by men of colour in the United States that is applicable to Indigenous men in Canada and their experiences.5 Beydoun links the negative treatment heaped on men of colour not only to racial discrimination but also to gendered discrimination. However, since these acts of discrimination are against men (of colour), most people fail to see them being tied to gender. As Beydoun points out:

			Gender discrimination is overwhelmingly discussed and examined within a vacuum, divorced from the racial realities that broaden its practical relevance. As a result, gender discrimination—in both lay and academic circles—is largely understood as animus endured by women, and most frequently, white women….

			Discrimination endured by men of colour is framed within liberal circles as racial or ethnic animus, but seldom—if ever—examined from a conjoined gender lens. The distinct tropes associated with black and brown masculinity, however, attract a distinct brand of gendered racism reserved for men of colour. Indeed, being both minority and male in the US today invites a brand of gendered stigma that is under-discussed in media and academic circles, and marginalised by a narrow conception of gender discrimination.6

			It is important to note that Beydoun’s discussion of the experience of gender bias and men of colour does not downplay, ignore, or trump women’s experiences. As he states, “The prevalence of patriarchy, violence toward women, and the feminisation of poverty, among other structural obstacles uniquely faced by women in the US and elsewhere, cannot be overstated.”7 For Beydoun, then, acknowledging the particular kind of gender bias men of colour endure expands our understanding of how gender discrimination works with racial discrimination to oppress, and his position encourages us to think about how to include gender analysis when examining the lived experiences of men of colour. As he concludes, “The pervasive forms of gendered bias and violence that are specifically reserved for men of colour, in the streets of the US, within its halls of power, and its public and private institutions, must be figured into prevailing conceptions of gender discrimination.”8

			A comparison of the murder statistics of Indigenous men and women in Canada compiled by Statistics Canada, researchers, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) provides insight into the degree to which the conditions of Indigenous men are not fully acknowledged—or even understood. As these data point to the level of race and gender bias Indigenous men face, we think they are valuable in setting the context for the articles in this book. We offer some of this material as an introduction into our work with Indigenous men and masculinities. As with the Sisters In Spirit Vigils and Walking With Our Sisters installation, unpacking the way violence plays out in Indigenous men’s lives is a good way to begin engaging a broader practice of gender-based analysis in the service of decolonization.

			Recognizing the Challenges

			Though the statistics for missing and murdered Indigenous women and men over the last two decades have not been entirely reliable, recent data are starting to shed more light on the level of violence they experience. For example, in 2006 Statistics Canada reported that between 1997 and 2004 there were 141 Indigenous women and 329 Indigenous men murdered (See Table 0.1).

			Table 0.1. Number of Indigenous victims of homicide in Canada, by sex and accused-victim relationship, 1997-2004.

			 				 					 					 					 					 					 					 					 				 				 					 						 							Relationship to the victim 						 						 							Female 						 						 							Female 						 						 							Male 						 						 							Male 						 						 							Total 						 						 							Total

					 						 							number 						 						 							percent 						 						 							number 						 						 							percent 						 						 							number 						 						 							percent

					 						 							Spouse i 						 						 							38 						 						 							27 						 						 							33 						 						 							10 						 						 							71 						 						 							15

					 						 							Parent ii 						 						 							12 						 						 							9 						 						 							14 						 						 							4 						 						 							26 						 						 							6

					 						 							Other Family iii 						 						 							12 						 						 							9 						 						 							61 						 						 							19 						 						 							73 						 						 							16

					 						 							Other intimate Family iv 						 						 							15 						 						 							11 						 						 							4 						 						 							1 						 						 							19 						 						 							4

					 						 							Acquaintance v 						 						 							49 						 						 							35 						 						 							174 						 						 							53 						 						 							223 						 						 							47

					 						 							Stranger 						 						 							15 						 						 							11 						 						 							43 						 						 							13 						 						 							58 						 						 							12

					 						 							Total 						 						 							141 						 						 							100 						 						 							329 						 						 							100 						 						 							470 						 						 							100

			Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey; Statistics Canada Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends, catalogue number 85-570-XWE200601 (includes North America Indian, Inuit, and Métis).

			i. Includes married, common-law, separated, divorce, and (ex) same-sex spouses

			ii. Includes biological or legally adoptive parents, step-parents, and foster parents

			iii. Includes children, siblings, and all other family members related through blood, marriage, adoption, or foster care

			iv. Includes current or former boyfriends/girlfriends and extra-marital lovers

			v. Includes friends, neighbours, business relationships, causal acquaintances, etc.

			Table 0.1 shows that there are more Indigenous men murdered than women in four of the six categories. Of importance is the number of Indigenous people murdered by people they know, many of whom are family members. Also, according to Statistics Canada, between 1997 and 2000, Indigenous men were victims of homicide nearly two and a half times more than Indigenous women, almost seven times more than white men, and over fifteen times more than white women. Further to this, in Canada, Indigenous men were charged with homicide over four times more than Indigenous women, almost nine times more than non-Indigenous men, and nearly ninety times more than white women. Typically, Indigenous men are compared to white men and Indigenous women with white women. A comparison between Indigenous men and non-Indigenous women shows the high level of violence Indigenous men face compared to the level of violence encountered by white women. This is significant, as the perception by many is that white women face a higher risk for violence.9

			Figures from the RMCP show, further, that in the province of Saskatchewan, between 1940 and 2015, thirty-eight Indigenous men as compared to eighteen Indigenous women went missing. These figures have to be used with caution, however, as information for doing a full analysis is lacking. For example, there is no indication of whether these figures include urban jurisdictions or whether a person comes off the list of missing if found. Interestingly, in that same period, forty-six white men and fourteen white women went missing. Although at first glance it appears non-Indigenous men are at a higher risk of going missing, when you take into consideration the provincial Indigenous population, Indigenous men and women are at much greater risk of going missing than are white men. White women are numerically the largest group in the province and are by far the least likely to go missing.10

			Significantly, NWAC argues that the number of murdered and missing Indigenous women is much higher than the number recorded by the RCMP and Statistics Canada. NWAC reports that over 600 Indigenous women have gone missing or have been murdered, with over 340 being murdered between the 1960s and the mid-2000s.11 This figure is higher than the Statistics Canada-recorded figure for the number of murdered Indigenous men, though the StatsCan figure only reflects a seven-year period. NWAC’s definition is slightly broader than that used by police agencies. For their Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit report, NWAC defined murder as referring to “the deaths resulting from homicide or negligence.” NWAC also tracked cases of “suspicious deaths.” “Suspicious deaths” refer to “incidents that police have declared as natural or accidental but that the family or community members regard as suspicious.”12 NWAC’s report effectively showed how the definition of murder used by police agencies does not adequately address the violent realities of Indigenous women. Broadening the definition of murder to include deaths by negligence and suspicious deaths underlines the extent of violence faced by Indigenous women in Canada.

			NWAC’s lobbying efforts to raise the issue of missing and murdered women has led to new research and to the revelations of even higher numbers of missing and murdered women. For example, Maryanne Pearce, a doctoral student at the University of Ottawa, found that 824 Indigenous women have been missing or murdered from at least the 1950s.13 In reaching her figure, Pearce scanned thousands of documents, such as newspapers articles, websites, public police files, and missing person posters. The news of her findings received national news coverage. However, as a private citizen, Pearce did not have the authority to access the extensive police records or the capacity to collate those records even if she had been able to access them.

			In May 2014, the RCMP released a report in which they compiled all the known police records from across Canada relating to missing and murdered Indigenous women.14 According to this new report, the RCMP determined that there were 1,181 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Of this number, 1,017 women were murder victims. This figure is significant not only because the number of murdered Indigenous women is much higher than had ever been officially recognized but also because these numbers were recorded between 1980 and 2012, unlike the NWAC numbers, which recorded figures from the 1960s, and Pearce’s numbers, which were recorded from the 1950s. Clearly, if the RCMP had gone as far back as the 1950s, the numbers would be much higher. To demonstrate the level of violence Indigenous women face compared to non-Indigenous women, in the province of Saskatchewan, Indigenous women make up less than 7 percent of the provincial population, yet they accounted for 153 out of the 269 (or 55 percent) of the total number of women murdered.15

			Though actual numbers are much higher than the census numbers discussed above, there is some consistency with the RCMP numbers. For example, both the census and the RCMP note that the overwhelming majority of victims knew their killers. According to the census, nearly 90 percent of the female victims knew their killers and, in the RCMP reports, 95 percent of the female victims knew their killers. It is unclear from both figures whether the perpetrators were Indigenous or not. However, we can assume that Indigenous men were engaged in some of this violence.

			NWAC’s challenge to the accuracy of the official figures for Indigenous women, combined with the most recent numbers released by the RCMP, also suggests that any official figures for Indigenous men are incorrect. In fact, in May 2014, Vice News reported that an independent researcher had gathered a list of missing and murdered Indigenous men in Canada dating from the 1960s.16 Over a nine-month period, Jennifer Mt. Pleasant searched various on-line and news sources and uncovered over 600 names of Indigenous men. It should be noted that Mt. Pleasant’s figure is higher than the original number of missing and murdered Indigenous women released by NWAC. Like Pearce, Mt. Pleasant did not have access to the police records and therefore the number can be assumed to be incomplete.

			The violence in the lives of Indigenous men has thus received some attention from researchers and the press. Within three months after the Vice News article appeared, another news article was published in the Toronto Star, revealing that Indigenous men in Canada are murdered at a much higher rate than Indigenous women.17 The reporter notes that Indigenous women are more likely to suffer from physical crimes, such as spousal abuse, than are Indigenous men. Nonetheless, he goes on to point out that Indigenous men are murdered at a higher rate, stating:

			Between 1980 and 2012, 14 per cent of female murder victims with a known ethnicity were aboriginal, far exceeding their 4 per cent share of the female population, according to Statistics Canada.

			But 17 per cent of male murder victims were also aboriginal during that time. In total, nearly 2,500 aboriginal people were murdered in the past three decades: 1,750 male, 745 female and one person of unknown gender.18

			In addition, the reporter notes that in the province of Manitoba, “more aboriginal people have been murdered in the past three decades than non-aboriginal, though the province is just about one-sixth native. Seventy-one per cent of those nearly 500 aboriginal homicide victims were men.”19 That the StatsCan figures for murdered Indigenous women are lower than those found in the RCMP report implies that the number of murdered Indigenous men may be even higher yet.

			These statistics on violence can inform a larger discussion about Indigenous men’s lives in Canada, pointing out that Indigenous men have a high risk of adopting negative lifestyles that lead to violence, addictions, and incarceration, and that these challenges can be linked to race and gender bias.20 Interestingly, according to the census figures above, 86 percent of the murdered Indigenous men knew their killers. Though there are no official records to indicate who the killers are of Indigenous men, if we consider the possibility that many of the killers could have been Indigenous men and if we factor in the possibility that a number of the strangers who murdered Indigenous men could also have been Indigenous, we need to consider the implications of Indigenous men as killers of Indigenous men. A significant outcome of these biases is that Indigenous men are more often viewed as victimizers, not as victims; as protectors rather than those who need protection; or as supporters, but not ones who need support. We see this as resulting from the hegemonic masculinity that is perpetuated through white supremacist patriarchy and conveyed by education, news, and entertainment institutions. The hegemonic nature of these perceptions leads them to become normalized and perpetuated through everyday interactions. These perceptions are so pervasive, it is next to impossible for Indigenous men not to be exposed to them. As a result of the colonization of their lands, minds, and bodies, many Indigenous men not only come to accept these perceptions but also come to internalize them.

			The racialized and gendered perceptions of Indigenous peoples globally are used, in part, as justification for both the access to Indigenous lands and resources and the subordination of Indigenous peoples by white men and, to a lesser extent but in significant ways, by white women in support of white male power structures. The negative perceptions white people have of Indigenous men help to explain white people’s fear of them. Fear of men of colour on the part of whites is equally prevalent. As Beydoun points out, the hegemonic nature of the fear of “minority masculinities” is rooted in Western society and acts as a counterpoint to the preferred hegemonic white hetero-patriarchal masculinity:

			The black and brown bodies of men of colour incite an overwhelming fear for onlookers, whether politicians, policemen, or television viewers, who interpret their minority masculinity as threatening and deviant. Terrorists instead of American citizens, gang-members not undergraduates, and dreadlocked thugs instead of Stanford graduates—is the confined view of black and brown men that still prevails today. This in part, must be attributed to the confined discourse and definition of gender discrimination.21

			The historical narrative that still holds true today is that white women are in constant danger of succumbing to violence at the hands of Indigenous men (and other men of colour), even though in reality they are the least likely to experience violence. However, white women are attuned to the perceived dangers Indigenous men pose to them. For example, white female university students in Saskatchewan have told us that they heard an initiate must rape a white girl to get into a Native gang. This says much about how they, as well as white men, might respond to the perceived threat posed by young Indigenous men in general. As the conveyors of the hegemonic masculinity, many white men feel duty bound to not only protect their “property” and therefore their claim to the land but also to protect themselves, and especially, white women from Indigenous men. Indigenous men are considered violent and dangerous; this is highlighted by the number of shooting deaths of unarmed Indigenous men by police officers, with relative impunity and with little outcry from the public.22

			The ways in which hegemonic masculinity has acted to subordinate Indigenous men encourages them to similarly assert power and control by subordinating Indigenous women and women of colour, as well as white women (where circumstances allow), other Indigenous men who are considered physically and intellectually weak, and those who do not express a heteronormative identity. The ideals of the current hegemonic masculinity are what all men must strive to achieve and uphold in order to be recipients of male privilege to its fullest extent. As a result, many Indigenous men abide by these ideals, even though doing so contributes to their own subordination as a group. As non-whites, Indigenous men’s privilege is ultimately subordinated by white male privilege, so they are then confined to achieve their privilege through the oppression of those who are perceived from a hegemonic masculine perspective as being weaker and more vulnerable than they are.

			The current hegemonic masculinity, then, has affected Indigenous men and their communities in complex ways. Nonetheless, many Indigenous men across the globe have begun to question and challenge how their current identities serve to reinforce the colonial legacy of subordination. They are making strides to regenerate positive ways of expressing the diverse range of Indigenous masculinities that reflect their contemporary realities. They are seeking out identities based on Indigenous understandings and that can contribute to the decolonization of Indigenous peoples. An important step in this process is acknowledging that Indigenous men do benefit from male privilege, as well as recognizing and acknowledging that, at the same time, many experience a level of victimization, violence, and subordination based on their race and gender that is similar, though manifested in different ways, to that of Indigenous women, and that the oppression suffered by both is tied to the colonization and acquisition of Indigenous lands.

			Giving Voice to the Legacies, Identities, and Acts of Regeneration

			In June 2012, we (Innes and Anderson) organized a day of panels on Indigenous masculinities for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) annual meeting, which took place in Uncasville, Connecticut, that year. We had a panel on “Identities” and another on “Queer Indigenous Masculinities,” and then hosted a roundtable of interested scholars, activists, and community workers. The interest and turnout were tremendous, and the dialogue was very rich, demonstrating that there is a broad and international scope of approaches to and interests in Indigenous masculinities. At the end of the roundtable we announced that we would like to meet with anyone who wished to contribute an article to a book on Indigenous masculinities. We had no physical location to meet, so we decided to meet in the hallway on the eleventh floor of the conference hotel. Amid the comings and goings of hotel guests and staff, fifteen to twenty people showed up, supplemented by people we had met at supper or on a bus during a conference tour. We enthusiastically discussed the possibility of this book, and many of the authors in this volume were at the initial “hallway” meeting. People talked about how the time was right to start to focus on issues facing Indigenous men and those who assert male identities in order for our communities to overcome many of the social calamities we face. We believe that the enthusiasm of those participants at the NAISA panels and at the “eleventh-floor” discussions, of those who have worked with us on our Bidwewidam Indigenous Masculinities project (see final chapter in this book), and of those who have committed to this volume reflects the growing number of Indigenous men who are committed to achieving mino-bimaadiziwin, a vision of the Anishinaabek that signifies “the good life.”23

			The experiences of Indigenous men and those who identify with Indigenous masculinities are varied and complex and no one book can possibly reflect all those lived experiences. Nonetheless, the essays that came together for this book represent a cross section of disciplinary approaches and reflect the range of topics found within the growing field of Indigenous masculinities studies. The authors come from a variety of academic and non-academic backgrounds, including literature, history, sport, sociology, women’s studies, and Indigenous studies. Our intention is to introduce the field of Indigenous masculinities through multiple lenses, approaches, voices, and genres. We have arranged the book into four sections with four articles in each section, reflecting this diversity.

			The first section, “Theoretical Considerations,” addresses the lack of theoretical work on Indigenous masculinities and sets forth ways we can interrogate our understanding of these constructions. First, Bob Antone outlines how he came to a Haudenosaunee Indigenous knowledge understanding of masculinities. This grounds the book in one Indigenous standpoint, as Antone frames his work from within the cosmology of his people, the Oneida. Scott Morgensen then traces the roots of colonial masculinity to argue that the heteropatriarchal environments that we now suffer were created by Europeans as part of the colonization process. He offers hope, emphasizing that, since this manifestation of heteropatriarchy was created, it is not necessarily a permanent or natural human condition and therefore can be altered or ended. Leah Sneider then shows how Indigenous feminism and masculinities studies can further our understanding of how the colonial concepts of race and gender have undermined the notion of complementarity among genders. Sneider’s chapter makes connections between this loss of gender complementarity and weakened Indigenous sovereignty. The final chapter in this section, by Brendan Hokowhitu, teases out the complex ways Indigenous masculinities and sexuality have been essentialized into colonial binaries, internalized by Indigenous men and manifested in a heterosexual Indigenous patriarchy reinforced by notions of tradition and authenticity.

			The four chapters in section two explore Indigenous masculinities through “Representations in Art and Literature,” the name of the section. In the first chapter in this section, Kimberly Minor unpacks how Mandan leader Mató-Tópe’s self-portraits act to sabotage colonial images of the noble savage conveyed through popular nineeenth-century artists George Catlin and Karl Bodmer. Minor argues that Mató-Tópe’s images allow for a closer representation of early Indigenous masculinities, offering an entry point into the discussion of how Indigenous men might represent themselves. Erin Sutherland’s chapter follows with an example of this in a contemporary context. She analyzes the works of contemporary artists Terrance Houle and Adrian Stimson to show how performance art pieces can challenge hegemonic masculinities and provide positive alternatives as acts of decolonization. We then turn to the notion that masculinities are not always tied to men or men’s bodies with Lisa Tatonetti’s chapter. Tatonetti builds upon Judith Halberstam’s influential work Female Masculinity to explore the way in which fictional female characters with masculine behaviours manifest in Indigenous literature. She looks at Louise Erdrich’s character Celestine James in The Beet Queen to argue that affective power, or female masculinity, is a “radically resistant” identity position. This position challenges heteromasculinity, drawing on notions of gender found within queer studies by detailing how Indigenous female masculinity has been and in many cases still is an accepted aspect of many Indigenous societies. Her chapter is a reminder that gender within most Indigenous societies was not tied to an individual’s biological makeup and that a masculine identity is not confined to males. The last chapter in this section, by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, provides a literary expression of many of the subjects found in this book. Sinclair addresses violence and its related challenges, and he also gives expression to the sacredness of fatherhood and Indigenous men’s relationship to the power of women, as represented through traditional knowledge and story.

			The chapters in the next section, “Living Indigenous Masculinities and Indigenous Manhood,” present studies of Indigenous masculinities in the context of sports, gangs, prisons, and identity reclamation. In the first chapter of this section, Phillip Borell uses Hokowhitu’s idea of colonial genealogy and applies the theory of coloniality to look at the decision of Māori rugby player James Tamou to play for the Australian national team. Borell shows how this decision caused a national controversy, while also offering an opportunity to investigate the intersection of sport, Indigenous masculinities, nationalism, and colonization. Robert Henry’s chapter on Indigenous street gangs follows the groundbreaking work of R.W. Connell and James Messerschmidt’s “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept.”24 Henry examines Indigenous masculinities at the global, regional, and local levels to show that Indigenous male bodies are constructed as threats to colonial order and therefore are relegated to the lawless margins. In the next chapter, Allison Piché presents a case that arts-based prison programs offer an alternative to the toxic masculinities found in the state-operated corrections systems many Indigenous men find themselves in. Together, Henry’s and Piché’s chapters offer a glimpse into how to challenge both the real and imagined ecologies of violence that Indigenous men face, and which were addressed earlier in this introduction. The final chapter in this section is by Lloyd Lee, which begins with the Diné principle of Sa’ah Naagháí Bik’eh Hózhóón. Lee offers this as a framework on how to live well and with beauty and happiness, which can be a guiding force to Diné women and men as they work to undo many of the effects of colonization.

			In the final section of the book, “Conversations,” we present the voices of Indigenous men directly, with discussions on what it means to be male and to assert masculine identities. We begin with Ty Tengan’s conversations with Vietnam War veterans Thomas Ka‘auwai Kaulukukui, Jr. and William Kahalepuna Richards, Jr. on the subject of Hawaiian warriorhood and Kū, their deity of “male generative force and productivity.”25 In the next chapter, Sam McKegney guides us through a conversation between Indigenous authors Gregory Scofield, Richard Van Camp, Warren Cariou, and Daniel Heath Justice—a poet and three novelists. This conversation took place in Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair’s Native studies class at the University of Manitoba in the winter of 2013, and relates understandings and issues of masculinities from Indigenous men who create male characters for their works. Sasha Sky’s chapter then follows with a transcribed conversation of six members of the “Crazy Indians” Brotherhood. This organization is comprised of former gang members who continue to work in the manner of gangs, but instead promote healthy, crime-free and drug-free lifestyles. This chapter offers an example of men who have chosen to provide service rather than fear to the community. As transcribed conversations, the first three chapters in this section thus offer the reader an opportunity to engage in their own analysis of Indigenous men’s discussions. In the final chapter, Kim Anderson, John Swift, and Robert Alexander Innes offer Indigenous voices and draw analysis out of a number of focus groups they conducted during their three-year (2011–14) Bidwewidam Indigenous Masculinities research project. These voices demonstrate how many of the themes in our research project intersect with themes in this book, giving shape to the emerging field of Indigenous masculinities.

			As a collection, Indigenous Men and Masculinities: Legacies, Identities, Regeneration reminds us that Indigenous men and those who identify with Indigenous masculinities can and do exemplify “mino-bimaadiziwin,” the good life. Though there are many caught in cycles of dysfunction, there are many others seeking ways to obtain “the good life,” more still who want to, and plenty of role models who have always been living in a good way. The journey away from the negative impacts of colonization and the imposition of the white supremacist heteropatriarchal masculine identities is long and arduous, but it is a journey that will ultimately strengthen Indigenous nations. As with Indigenous women, Indigenous men will need support as they embark on that passage. The authors in this volume recognize the challenges Indigenous men must deal with and have chosen to research, write, and talk about those challenges as a means of walking with our brothers as they decolonize and move forward.


			1. Native Women’s Association of Canada, Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit: A Report to Families and Communities (Ohsweken, ON; Saint-Lazare, PQ: Gibson Library Connections, 2008).

			2. Statistics Canada Demography Division, 2001.

			3. Statistics Canada, 2011.

			4. Canada, Office of the Correctional Investigator, Aboriginal Inmates (Ottawa: Government of Canada, Corrections Research Branch of the Department of Public Safety, 2008).

			5. Khaled Beydoun, “More Than Thugs: The Case of Richard Sherman and Other Men of Colour,” Al Jazeera Online, 29 January 2014,

			6. Ibid., par. 4.

			7. Ibid., par. 9.

			8. Ibid., par. 9.

			9. To put this into context, according to the RCMP, between 1980 and 2012, there were 5,439 non-Aboriginal women murdered in Canada (they do not specify how many of this women were not white).

			10. Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police webpage, http://www.sacp-ca/missing/index (accessed 20 July 2015).

			11. Native Women’s Association of Canada, Voices of Our Sisters In Spirit: A Report to Families and Communities, 2nd ed. (Ottawa: NWAC, March 2009), 88,

			12. Ibid., 5.

			13. Maryanne Pearce, “An Awkward Silence: Missing and Murdered Vulnerable Women and the Canadian Justice System” (LLD diss., University of Ottawa, 2013).

			14. Canada, “Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operation Overview” (Ottawa: Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2014).

			15. In comparison to the 1,017 Indigenous women who were murdered, the report noted that 5,439 non-Indigenous women were murdered in the same time period. In other words, 16% of all women who have been murdered nationally were Indigenous women even though they make up about 2% of the national population. See Canada, “Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women…,” 9. This is not to suggest that violence towards white women is insignificant, but it does highlight the fact that Indigenous women and men are murdered at a higher proportion to their population and yet the level of fear and concern for the safety of white women is not matched with the actual level of violence faced by Indigenous women and men.

			16. Martha Troian, “An Independent Database Has Found Canada Lost Over 600 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Men,” Vice News Online, 20 May 2014,

			17. Eric Andrew-Gee, “Aboriginal Men Murdered at Higher Rate than Aboriginal Women: The Death of 15-Year-Old Tina Fontaine Casts Spotlight on Homicide Epidemic Ravaging Indigenous Communities for Decades,”, 22 August 2014,

			18. Ibid., para. 4 and 5. See also Sherene H. Razack, “‘It Happened More Than Once’: Freezing Deaths in Saskatchewan,” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 26, no. 1 (2014): 51–80.

			19. Andrew-Gee, “Aboriginal Men Murdered at Higher Rate than Aboriginal Women,” para. 14.

			20. It should be noted that, as authors in this book point out, the social and economic conditions of Indigenous peoples worldwide are similar to those in Canada.

			21. Beydoun, “More Than Thugs,” para. 18, emphasis in original.

			22. For example, see Canadian Press, “Alberta RCMP Shoot, Kill Man After Road Stop Altercation,” National Post Online, 4 August 2013,

			23. Gross states that the Aninshinaabe understanding of the “good life” is encapsulated in bimaadiziwin and defines it as “having a long and healthy life, and was the life goal of the Anishinaabe... bimaadiziwin served as an underlying theme of most religious structures.” Lawrence Gross, “Bimaadiziwin, or the ‘Good Life,’ as a Unifying Concept of Anishinaabe Religion,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 26, no. 1 (2002): 15–16.

			24. R.W. Connell and J.W. Messerschmidt, “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept,” Gender and Society 19, no. 6 (2005): 829–59.

			25. See Tengan, “ ‘The Face of Kū,’ ” 231 (in this volume).


		 			CHAPTER 1

Reconstructing Indigenous Masculine Thought

			Bob Antone

			This is a story of a search for Indigenous knowledge that constructs masculinity within a reflective process; an examining of my personal journey to dismantle the Westernized male acculturation influencing the contemporary construct of being a Haudenosaunee man.

			This homecoming is a journey of sourcing original thought. For this reason, I open this chapter by introducing core elements of Haudenosaunee knowledge/original thought, as represented in Figure 1.1. This figure references the Haudenosaunee Creation story, the Ceremonies, the Great Law, and the Gaiwiio. These cultural sources form the Ukwehu:we (literally, Real Human Being or Iroquois) masculine mindset.

			As Indigenous people, our reality began long before 1492, and so we begin by seeking understanding of our Creation stories. One cannot be Indigenous or contemplate Indigenous masculinities without the original knowledge of Creation informing and supporting one’s spirit and thought. Haudenosaunee knowledge is permeated with a theological world view rooted in a pragmatic spirituality of dream, storytelling, relationship, morality, dependency, thankfulness, and operating with a Good Mind.

			Ceremony is another significant component toward centring our identity through Haudenosaunee knowledge. Today, culture is acted out in ceremonies in the longhouse1 and continues to be the foundation of who we are as Haudenosaunee. The many ceremonies are celebrations of life, Haudenosaunee attachment to the traditional foods, and enacting the creation of Mother Earth. Learning ceremony places the Ukwehu:we in a different spiritual place than Western constructs of spirituality.

			Figure 1.1. Haudenosaunee Knowledge.

			The Great Law of Peace is the third source of Haudenosaunee knowledge that came to the people through a messenger we call the Peacemaker. The importance of the Great Law is its contribution to Haudenosaunee identity and spiritual purpose. The message came to the Ukwehu:we over a thousand years ago and has been the defining teachings of being the Haudenosaunee. When the teachings originally came to the people, it was during a time when violence was rampant among them. The teachings of peace, power, and the Good Mind address the issue of violence within the community.

			A fourth foundation of our knowledge dates back to 1799, when our people received a message from a Seneca visionary named Handsome Lake. Through the power of dream, visions came to this reluctant soul, an ordinary man who had lost most of what he loved to the invading forces. By 1799, the force of the colonization had turned our communities into oppressive, violent, addicted environments, which were the products of war, colonization, genocide, and the cruelty of the oppressors. Handsome Lake addressed the state of our nations by sharing his vision of a need to stay away from the “mind changers” of the white man, which included their alcohol, laws, Bible, diseases, and music. The message was to keep the four sacred ceremonies going, follow the teachings of the Good Mind, ensure the raising of chiefs and clan mothers, and adjust the way one lived to keep life simple and meaningful. The Gaiwiio, Handsome Lake’s message, set in motion a process for the decolonization of Haudenosaunee communities. For the last 214 years, this effort has grown among us.

			Handsome Lake advocated for the continuance of the Great Law, the original teachings of non-violence. The Western illusion of discovery and dominance of other cultures is in direct conflict with the traditional constructs of peace and non-violence. The other significant cultural difference is the all-encompassing matrifocal or women-centred foundation of Haudenosaunee culture rooted in the constructs of Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, Three Sisters’ foods, and clan mothers who select the leadership and identity based on who your mother is. As Ukwehu:we men, our psyche has to accept those teachings if we are going to decolonize.

			Recently, I spoke at the Great Law Recital held in my community, Oneida Settlement. The presentation labelled the experiences of our ancestors and our own life experiences as colonization, and our recovery as decolonization. We were naming our reality; a thought process that originates in the depth of our collective Haudenosaunee mind. This chapter documents my journey from my time as a young man to that Great Law Recital of 2013, as a facilitator of decolonization work and as a Haudenosaunee man unravelling and shedding the colonial cloak of Western masculinity through the application of the knowledge represented in Figure 1.1.

			Historical Background

			Understanding how history contributes to masculine identity is vital to uncovering the decolonized Indigenous man, and so I also offer my history by way of introduction. My history is about a homeland in upstate New York, the relocation to southern Ontario of 391 Oneidas, and the creation of a new community in Southwold, Ontario, which we call Oneida Settlement. In 1844, four years after the migration, the British government reported that “there were…6 frame and 48 log homes with 4 wigwams…and a total of 335 acres under cultivation.”2 The people busied themselves with re-establishing a community.

			In March of 1850, the Oneidas sent a delegation to the Six Nations at Grand River to request that the chiefs come and condole and raise new chiefs to form a new Oneida Settlement government. The British Indian agent Clench attended the meeting at Grand River and observed “the ancient ceremony of burying the hatchet between the Six Nations and the Oneidas who had shed each other’s blood at the instigation of the British and American Governments.”3 The act of reconciliation is a natural Haudenosaunee process; it is not one bound in sympathy but in finding Ka?nikohli:yo, a communal Good Mind shared in the equal and joyful presence of one another. The Good Mind is one of the founding principles of the Great Law and the traditional customs that continue to inform the roles of men and women and the relationships between them.

			Oneida people remained attached to their homelands 150 years after a migration that did not severe their ties to the United States. The Oneida went on with rebuilding their nation, exiled in the Beaver Hunting Grounds.4 The community was thus governed by the Chiefs’ Council until the Canadian colonial imposition of the Indian Act Band Council system in 1934. For ninety-six years, the community enjoyed the exclusive extension of the traditional form of government from their homelands. Traditional forms of government continued to inform the men on how leadership, respect, communal relations, peace, and the Good Mind principle structured and organized the community. The Chiefs’ Council continues holding regular meetings today.

			In spite of our ability to hold onto the Chiefs’ Council, by the late 1960s, the elders, chiefs, and clan mothers publicly announced the dire situation of cultural loss. Young Oneidas acknowledged the call and returned to the longhouse to help with the recovery. It was this call that caught my attention, and I returned home to help. In 1969, I was around when a group of Oneidas from Wisconsin began their cultural recovery process. A relationship grew between the Wisconsin and Ontario Oneida communities, both spiritual and personal in nature, commencing a new chapter in the Oneida cultural recovery.

			The Oneida Chiefs’ Council, with the assistance of younger men, began to travel regularly to every Grand Council at Onondaga and the Six Nations meeting at Grand River, picking up the responsibilities of leadership and carrying the voice of the Oneida Nation Council. The young men, like me at the time, accompanied the chiefs to learn.

			The 1970s was a very volatile time in Indian Country, providing Indigenous men with opportunities to organize, demonstrate, voice their anger, and refuse to be shackled by the settler governments. Groups of Oneida men and women travelled to the various events from Wounded Knee, South Dakota; Washington, DC; Ottawa, Ontario; and First Nations communities across Canada and the U.S. to demonstrate, participate, and learn about the struggle of all Indigenous peoples.

			In 1982, a condolence ceremonial known as the Raising of Chiefs and Clan Mothers was held in the Oneida Settlement, advancing the construction of an original government. To increase the connection with our relatives in Wisconsin, Faith Keepers were selected and appointed with the sanction of the central fire of the Oneida Nation at Southwold. Faith Keepers, chiefs, and clan mothers travelled to Wisconsin to officiate over the ceremonial proceeding at a mid-winter ceremony. More men were taking on long-forgotten responsibilities.

			The significance of this work was acknowledged with the placing of an official “fire” at the longhouse in Wisconsin in 2004, the first in the twenty-first century. This was a culmination of forty-four years of cultural revitalization work by many Oneidas from different communities with the assistance of the Haudenosaunee, the longhouses of the other nations. Language programs are now offered in all three communities despite differences in other areas, such as land claims and politics. Oneidas continue to journey between communities, building relationships and learning together. These efforts create new roles for men as teachers while renewing their ancient roles as orators.

			The Iroquoian linguist and ethnographer J.N.B. Hewitt explored our culture and religion through the language, identifying “Kalenna” as the “mystic potency”5 or “spiritual bundle”6 that each person is born with. All Iroquois have an innate spiritualism, cultivated for generations, increasing the desire for their own identity. The soul or spirit of the Ukwehu:we man is charged with a duty inherently attached to Haudenosaunee teachings. Perhaps as a result of this spirit, the forces of assimilation and acculturation pressuring Oneidas to change and be white, Christian, tax paying, landless, uncultured, marginalized, second-class citizens, and followers of the band council system did not prevail. The power of the Kalenna (spiritual bundle), Ka?nikohli:yo (the Good Mind), and the flexibility of the culture and teachings absorbed the cultural shock and helped us to resist.

			Among the Oneida communities, the Oneida Settlement7 maintains the cultural practices more successfully. We are a more closed, isolated society, which has helped us to resist the assimilation efforts of the settler society. Even though most Euro-American and Canadian writers/researchers predicted that the culture would end, our recent history has proven that their ethnocentric view was wrong. Yet political, social, and cultural experiences of the last thirty-five to forty years demonstrate that Ukwehu:we men in general need to continue to work to retain and regain the mental, emotional, and spiritual space for the following principles:

			•	Oneida women are the critical identity holders of the nation.

			•	The women continue to pass on the inner desire to be Oneida and to be a part of something larger, the Haudenosaunee.

			•	Proximity to the rest of the Haudenosaunee is a critical factor in the sharing of culture.

			•	Marriage between communities and nations helps to maintain the Haudenosaunee identity.

			•	The relationship between Six Nations of the Grand River and the Oneida Settlement increases the viability of the traditional forms of belief through ceremonial, constitutional, governmental, and traditional clan roles.

			•	The ceremonial system of reconciliation settles disputes and historic disagreements to rejoin the original order of peace, friendship, and the Good Mind.

			This is a part of my history that I have been deeply involved in for over forty years. It is this history that informs my spiritual and political masculine thought.

			Putting Knowledge into Practice: Initiating Men’s Healing

			My adult life began with the realization that our culture was under threat, as the Elders feared that no one wanted to learn. My life direction has taken me on a path involved in community organizing and social service work, seeking ways to restrengthen culture and wellness, ways to combat racism, and ways to secure sovereignty and self-determination. As the son of a father who was sentenced to ten years in a residential school, I realized early on that I carry the scars of multi-generational genocidal Canadian programs and I sought a greater understanding of the role of men in Indigenous society. I could see that the heart and spirit of men had fallen victim to colonialism and internalized oppression. I wanted to explore what Indigenous men needed to challenge the internalized oppressive behaviours of men.

			During the same time that Indigenous political activism was happening, Indian Country was witnessing the birth of a new home for the cultures in the healing continuum that had emerged. This movement was led by women, inspiring us to ask the questions, Where were the men? What was preventing them from accessing this phenomenon of healing?

			Part of the answer could be found in the historical record, which showed how colonialism continues to influence the path of Indigenous men. The role of men as protectors and providers for their clan families was dismantled by the invading colonial masculinity. The invaders were primarily European testosterone-driven egomaniacs in search of wealth or souls. The more contact our Nations had with them, the more disoriented the men became. We came to know settler men as the Axe People. In the Oneida language, they are referred to as those who make axes or as “the ones who cut down the trees.” As the forest disappeared in the wake of the settlers, our ancestors witnessed the rape of Mother Earth, the evidence of cultural difference.

			Within this context of cultural disorientation and colonialism, men struggled to find their place. During the Oka Crisis of 1990 at Kanesatake, the Haudenosaunee experienced the culmination of the oppressive force of Canada and Quebec playing itself out. 8 We witnessed the rise of the warrior construct as an image of resistance and freedom for Indigenous peoples. The Oka Crisis or Mohawk Crisis allowed First Nations men who witnessed the oppression to release their pent-up political and spiritual anger and frustrations.

			After 1990, my friends and I began to travel to British Columbia to participate in retreats involving vision and fasting ceremonies held in the mountains. It was during one of these trips that a vision came to me in the sweat lodge. I opened my eyes to see the image more clearly, and this is what I saw:

			I could see the men standing on a mountain, a thousand or more high on the mountain, facing each other in a circle, and at the core, the sound of the truth could be heard from afar, ripped from their souls through the memories of a collective painful scar, releasing them from the past to accept the world today, accepting a reality of their own, not feeling they had to pay for something orchestrated by the colonial destroyers’ rampant diseases, warfare, rape, residential schools, and evil land takers needing to seek forgiveness from the women and children who felt the pain of the lost men on the path of self-destruction. From the gathering on the mountain, they made their journey in succession down a long, winding path, entering the community hall, forming a huge circle of a thousand men or more. Each man stood and told his story; filling the room with regret, he would collapse in tears and weeping, asking to be released from the pain and to be free again as an Onkwehonwe man. The colours glistened in the vision, showing the strength of the spirit of the Anishnawbe man. Then the vision was gone, and I was back in the lodge.

			My immediate thought was that men need to get involved in healing. They needed to expose their stories to the world and face the demons left behind by the settlers and colonial manipulators. For several years, I carried that dream with me, wondering how this could be done. In my community organizing and development work, I began to encourage men I met or knew to get involved.

			I noticed over the years that what men seemed to struggle with was their anger. I was no different. The ongoing anger that one experiences is the single most powerful disruption in families today. Male anger is destroying Indigenous families and societies. Most men hide their anger and at times use it against their families. As men, we need to face this reality and come to terms with what it is.

			At the same time, this is not just about angry men; it is about having to survive generations of oppression. The invaders’ intentional effort to damage and destroy Indigenous families and cultures is well documented. The anger becomes more than a normal feeling; it has long roots traced through time, beginning with the first death among our people from the diseases, the invasion, and the murder of families by the colonial armies, the distribution of alcohol to gain signatures on fake treaties, the loss of home and homelands, having to escape and find a safe place to live and rebuild a culture. After these experiences, the settlers followed, demanding that our children be sent to schools to rid them of their language, culture, and family ties. They continue to steal our lands, extracting all the natural resources, raping our Mother Earth again and again.

			As we enter the twenty-first century, Indigenous men need to find the peace within to be creative in our efforts to rebuild and recover from the destructive force of “Western civilization,” a barbaric force of limited humanity, a society of war mongers.

			I remember an Indigenous man once telling me it is okay to be angry at injustice but not to let anger create injustice toward one’s own people. The challenge is to re-establish the role that Indigenous men in First Nations’ societies play through a multi-faceted purpose that includes personal wellness, strengthening strong families, and sovereign First Nations that build revitalization movements politically, socially, and culturally—a program that ripples out to Indigenous communities, finding and helping Indigenous men discover, recover, and build their own Indigenous capacities.

			Developing Men’s Programming

			As I began to work with other Indigenous men in the healing movement, I found it challenging to find materials suitable to Indigenous men. I examined a number of books and organizations devoted to the renewal of men’s role in society that began to circulate in the 1980s and 1990s. Men generally were feeling trapped in the masculinity of American society: a gun-toting, John Wayne mentality. Much of the work we reviewed did not discourage this individualistic way of thinking. We were looking for materials that spoke to the virtues of Indigenous values or, at the very least, culturally neutral ones.

			What was currently available for Indigenous men to study was limited. Three resources were selected for their usefulness in working with Indigenous men. The first was Kivel’s 1998 publication Men’s Work, which was relevant because it was the result of his work at the Oakland Men’s Project, where he helped men confront and change violent behaviour. One of the things he pointed out is that men are trained by society to be soldiers, and that “male violence is a force which keeps systems of exploitation and violence in place.”9 Kivel noted, “The past cannot totally explain why men commit violence. The present is not simply the result of all past experiences and training…. Not every boy who was beaten grows up to beat his children, wife, or partner. Men decide to commit acts of violence. Men decide whether to take responsibility for those acts or to avoid responsibility.”10 The book offered a curriculum of twenty-two exercises for each topic, including becoming a father; cultural, racial, and class background; male spirituality; and getting help from others. The second resource we found relevant was Power and Control: Tactics of Men Who Batter.11 This 1984 multi-media curriculum addressed the issues of family violence and men’s power and control behaviours. The third resource was Fanning and McKay’s 1993 Being a Man, which was helpful in curriculum development with its focus on “gendergraphs”; nurturing fathering; the importance of introspection; and clarifying and expressing feelings.12 The external information developed by Western non-native programs helped us understand the impact on changing violent traits and the process for dealing with related masculinity issues. Most of the material was helpful in understanding colonialism and limited in assisting with Indigenous approaches. Finally, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation published a handbook in 2005 that addressed some of the questions faced by Indigenous men.13

			I worked with other Indigenous men to begin to incorporate some of this material into the healing program we were designing. Addressing violence was central to our work.

			Table 1.1. Violence in Indigenous communities.

			 			Note: Excludes incidents where the sex and/or age of victim was unknown and where the relationship between the victim and the accused was unknown.

			In 2011, Statistics Canada published a report in which it stated, “As in previous years, the majority of victims of family violence were females. They represented 80% of spousal victims, 63% of parents victimized, 58% of extended family members victimized, 57% of child victims and 57% of sibling victims.”14 The 2011 statistics reflected similar stats from 1998, the time I began to work as the executive director of the Kiikeewanniikaan Healing Lodge, a holistic healing centre located in the Munsee Delaware Nation. By 2000 we had seen enough women who had experienced verbal, sexual, and physical abuse that we knew the statistics were true. It was time to bring the vision into reality and develop a healing program just for men, and to teach men the skills they needed to work with other men.

			Through the collaboration of the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) and St. Lawrence College, we developed a diploma program in social services. With the assistance of Dr. Jim Dumont, Ojibwa Elder/teacher and traditional chief of the Eastern Door of the Midewiwin, I built a curriculum. We had worked together for a number of years, and this gave us the opportunity to continue our collaborative approach in cultural revitalization. We designed a program specifically for Anishnawbe/Ukwehu:we15 men who wanted to make a healthy difference in their families and communities.

			One of the original reasons for the program was to find a way to combat family violence. The curriculum asked participants to consider why all the violence was occurring when we come from cultures that have fundamental beliefs in kindness, peace, caring, and sharing. It exposed the fact that violence is an aftereffect of assimilation and colonization, caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and it facilitated the decolonization of masculinity through the original cultural teachings by putting cultural knowledge back in Indigenous homes to stop family violence.

			A universal principle among Anishnawbe/Ukwehu:we men who are immersed in their cultures is the role of fire, symbolically and in life. Fire is representative of the spirit of the human being. In both Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe cultures, man is considered responsible for care taking of fire. With those thoughts in mind, we developed a program, entitled Tending the Fire. This was a two-year program designed to reclaim Anishnawbe/Ukwehonwe teachings, to learn about self, and to learn strategies to help other men, families, and communities tend and fix the fires so they would burn pure. During the program, the learner attended thirteen required weekly sessions of forty hours of training each, receiving in total 520 hours of onsite training. In addition, an optional ten days (100 hours) were offered for those who wished to practise their skills of helping in a residential program.

			Culture-based or traditional teachings formed the foundation of Tending the Fire. This program was also designed to be a discovery path, asking, “What has caused Indigenous men to be afraid of their own cultures and teachings?” The original teachings are essential ingredients in the rebuilding and recovery of self-esteem and the empowerment of Indigenous men.

			Working with Men’s Fire

			Originally, the idea of a men’s program had come in a vision in a lodge, seeing men healing, discovering, seeking, and sharing with the people their renewal as Indigenous men. In working on men’s programming, we had to ask what was missing from our lives as men in the twenty-first century. The very essence of being an Indigenous man had been stolen and lost over the years of survival, and had been replaced with messages of “Be like us and you will be accepted and a part of white society.” Canada has spent millions of dollars designing and implementing programs to erase the Indigenous out of the man, to “kill the Indian and save the man.”16

			In Haudenosaunee original teachings, man as a human being was given a distinct place within the universal family. The original teachings speak of human beings completely dependent on all the other life forms to survive. The human is the least significant in the total sacred cycle of life. The human is a part of the food chain as a consumer of other life forms. Not one other living being depends on the human being. As a result, the human being is a predator, dependent and needing the bodies of other living beings to survive. Originally, Indigenous men understood this, and cultures evolved that practised and understood the role of the human being within the greater family of life forces as outlined in the original teachings in Figure 1.1.

			Five hundred years of contact riddled with atrocities has left behind a society of Indigenous men lacking true joyful identities, their authentic humanness erased by generations and countless acts of violence against them. These experiences have left behind beings who have survived through small acts of control and power, who have become household oppressors. They mimic the oppressors they hate, as if this is the only way to be a man. At those moments when one of them strikes another human being, they are making a choice. In domestic violence, rage is not blind or blameless; it is masculine rage making a decision.

			The original sacred role of Indigenous men was reset to a path of self-destruction, and men are now trying to forget 521 years of invasion and genocide. The masculine role is interwoven within all life forces by a spiritual reciprocal connection understood within Indigenous cultures. Indigenous men are part of the human family who must find their place and make their own space for their thoughts and actions in contemporary reality. Indigenous masculinity is coming into its place, still defined by the Indigenous cultures. The family circle becomes more complete with the inclusion of the male spirit.

			As a way of tapping into that spirit, we designed our curriculum around fire teachings from both Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee cultures that speak directly to the role of the masculine energy of these societies. We engaged participants in activities that connected them to flint, fire, and the Grandfathers by teaching them how to make fire and construct bows; to do self-examinations with genograms and life lines; to expose and release anger; to establish personal ceremony to care for their manhood; to learn about women’s teachings; and to practise reaching out to other men.

			Our work began with teachings about the first Grandfather, Grandfather Rock, as it is so affectionately known among Indigenous peoples. It is the rock that carries the spark of life; Grandfather Rock has been given the responsibility to be the carrier of fire. The Anishnawbe understood this and called upon Grandfather whenever they needed fire. With that fire derives the continuation of life, symbolized and experienced in the fire itself. The fire is the source of warmth, the energy for cooking food, the light in the darkness, the energy used to work with wood to fashion homes, protection, and to create a safe, secure environment.

			For the Haudenosaunee, the fire is the symbol of spirit of self, family, clan, and nation. The fire embodies all that is gifted from the higher power—the Great Spirit. Each person is given a fire to care for. When two people join together, they work to care for each other’s fire and build a fire together, a family fire that is connected to the clan fire and, in turn, inseparable from the Nation fire.

			Our other Grandfather—Eldest Brother (the sun)—is connected in the same way. Fire gives the gift of warmth to man. That warmth is about being connected to their relatives. Flint is the source of all the spiritual energy of the Eldest Brother—the sun. The flint then becomes a storage place for the energy that gives life. When the flint is struck and the spark jumps to the birch medicine (birch bark) and slowly becomes fire, we see the birth of spirit. This medicine is the gift of the birch tree. It is what the birch uses to heal itself, drawing from Mother Earth the healing power to cover an injury. As the birch tree heals, it leaves behind an enlarged growth. This hardened medicine of the birch tree becomes the partner to the spark of the flint. The two work to cause fire. With fire comes the thought and experience of spark-touching medicine from Mother Earth to create energy, the essence of spirit.

			The power of flint within a flint point is Grandfather Rock fashioned with the power to take life. It is made to take life for a reason, and that reason is to give life. The arrowhead has the power to take life and to provide nourishment to the human beings who depend on the hunter in an explosive and dynamic expression of the energy in flint.

			The hunter’s bow is made from a tree relative that gives up life to enable the bow maker to fashion a tool to take life. Here we see the energy of the arrow and bow working together to aid human beings in their desire to survive and make life. The bow provides the trajectory power to the arrow, carrying the power to take life. Seeking a victim, it makes its kill, sending the spirit of the victim, an animal relative, to the spirit world. Oyu?kwa?uwé (sacred tobacco) is offered before and after a kill. This ensures that the power of the bow and arrow is never misunderstood or misused by the hunter. It is a constant reminder to the hunter that he carries the gift of the power to take life, joined with the ability to give life’s nourishment to a family, clan, or village. The act of taking life cannot be exercised without knowing about and without acknowledgement of giving and sharing the nourishment.

			The making of a tool that has this power is done with love and care. Fashioning a bow from a tree makes one look for the strength of the tree, seeing the lines of aging, choosing somewhere between the outside and the centre of the tree. It is in the thick layer where a year of strength is stored. Everything else around this layer is removed to reveal the instrument of trajectory power, a power collected and strung and released through the arrow and the flint point transforming into the power to take life.

			The hunter is “the Seeker of his relatives” or “the one who looks for the fire in his relatives,” as the hunter is described or thought of in two Native languages, Ukwehunwehnéha and Anishnaabemowin. The act of being a provider carries with it the responsibility for releasing that energy of extinguishing life. The food that is gained becomes a spirit food of nourishment, feeding the hunter’s family fire.

			We taught our program participants that over generations of this act, Indigenous men were cared for by being carefully cleansed by the medicines of smudge and song before and after the hunt. The returning hunter was received by family and community, making sure that the power of the ability to take life within the hunter was cared for with cleansing that brought the hunter back to balance. The power to take life is the spirit of the hunter, gathering emotional and physical energy, skill, and knowledge folded into the single act of drawing the string back and flinging the arrow to its destiny, taking the life of another life form. Reciprocity, respect, spiritualism, ceremony, and bravery are values that band together to form a caring male spirit. Ceremonially, cultures knew that it was necessary as a special consideration always to tend the masculine energy within our families. It is this one simple act, a cleansing ceremony to bring balance back to the male spirit, that has disappeared in our communities.

			The male spirit had been conditioned for generations to be tended, but the invasion hampered the practice of this simple act of bringing balance back to the male spirit. Some of the more traditional hunters kept the practice alive, and during Tending the Fire program, we discovered the importance of the tradition. Indigenous men need this on a daily basis to fashion a caring personality that is always in balance. Every Ukwehu:we/Anishnawbe man has been given a part to play in the cycle of this gift—taking and giving life. This cycle is filled with the taking and giving of energy that leads to the one hard act of taking life—being a provider. Without the teachings, many hunters fulfilling their obligations become burdened with negative feelings of remorse or guilt. When these men do not or are not able to take their place within this cycle, their energy is trapped in an acculturate cycle of anomie. In this acculturated cycle, pent-up energy turns into anger, leading to random acts of violence committed against women and children. Uneducated and uncultured power and control behaviours cause pure acts of aggression.

			Figure 1.2. The Good Mind.

			All human emotions are energy that can be acted upon or used to cause positive or negative encounters with the world. When the conscience is not schooled appropriately, the emotional energy causes random acts of violence. Most of us have spent some of our formative years learning about what we can get away with. The emotional energy that men exercise before some measure of conscience guides the use of the masculine energy is often unpredictable.

			Without the teachings and care of the energy, the Indigenous conscience can falter and fail to react in the full expression of taking and giving life as a meaningful spiritual relationship with all life forms. The inadequacy of the conscience causes the energies to be misguided. Then, experiences of alcohol abuse, family violence, racism, and childhood traumas makes man vulnerable to the building of internalized energy that leads to anger. Forgotten cultural teachings further stimulate the release of negative masculine energy only to extinguish the fires of his loved ones, perpetrating family violence.

			Those Indigenous men can find themselves a long way from their original roles and responsibilities. These teachings have limited bearing on their lives. Ultimately, the spirit of the Indigenous man is not cared for ceremonially or spiritually. In the Tending the Fire program, we proposed that the right to hunt and to take life is not cared for within the Indigenous man. In a more contemporary context hunting becomes the metaphor of man’s engagement in difference lifestyles. The growth of the realization of these simple teachings helped to gain ground concerning family violence. The energy can be treated, and the balance of the male energy can be helped. The men who have attended Tending the Fire continue to seek knowledge of Indigenous masculinity through experiential learning. The cultured conscience of a man gives those emotions a set of parameters to function within, with a sense of morality, the principles we live by, building character that is balanced in accepting and understanding the power of their fire.


			As a Haudenosaunee man, I have experienced the collective wisdom of the past generations; listened to and absorbed the narratives; gained political knowledge by being involved in resistance and advocacy; performed personal self-examination and healing; learned from my mistakes; and allowed the culture to guide my thoughts.

			Much of our rich culture is still available to us. One of the major concerns is whether it will be available for the next seven generations. One way to make sure is to infuse our lives with the teachings and act out the essence of the culture in our everyday experiences. As Haudenosaunee men, we must begin to seize the teachings and have them form our behaviour. Figure 1.3 provides eight key words informing our minds to direct our behaviour, creating family, community, and society as Haudenosaunee. Affirmation and integration into Haudenosaunee identity are critical to the long-term positive development of men who have not had the opportunity to examine their culture or their families’ lives. The self-examination course of action would be a decolonization process to achieve a cultural-based whole person. This is why, during the helping process, individuals need to come to terms with their own life path as a critical part of the long-term process of transformation.

			We need to be Ka?nikohli:yo, not just in the longhouse but all day long, every day, throughout our lifetimes. The masculine energy of our communities has a greater responsibility to self-examine and rebuild a real sense of manhood that works with women to create a world free of violence. The journey to understanding decolonization in the context of masculinity requires letting go of power and control behaviours, the source of violence. The original teachings of Indigenous cultures fashion men to be liberated, thoughtful in deliberations, matrifocal, and self-determining in ways that honour our inner fire and responsibilities toward all of life through the teaching of Ka?nikohli:yo.


			1. Longhouse is a term used to reference traditional people among the Iroquois. It is the primary building used for ceremonial activities and clan and community meetings. Haudenosaunee means people who build longhouses.

			2. Alex Frank Ricciardelli, “Factionalism at Oneida, An Iroquois Indian Community” (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1961).

			3. J. Campisi, “Ethnic Identity and Boundary Maintenance in Three Oneida Communities” (PhD diss., State University of New York, 1974), 270.

			4. The 1701 Fort Albany Treaty recorded the territory as the Beaver Hunting Grounds, a joint use area of several Indigenous Nations. This is also acknowledged in oral history as well as under the Dish With One Spoon Treaty.

			5. J.N.B. Hewitt, “Orenda and a Definition of Religion,” American Anthropologist 4, no. 1 (1902): 13.

			6. H. Elijah (Faith Keeper Oneida Longhouse) in discussion with the author, 2008.

			7. The term “settlement” is used by Oneidas because they purchased the territory from the British in 1838–40 and do not like using the colonial term “reserve.”

			8. The Oka Crisis was a confrontation when the City of Oka attempted to take burial grounds from the Mohawk people of Kanesatake to expand a golf course.

			9. Paul Kivel, Men’s Work: How to Stop the Violence that Tears Our Lives Apart (Center City, MN: Hazelden Publishing, 1998).

			10. Ibid., 101.

			11. Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar, Power and Control: Tactics of Men Who Batter: An Educational Curriculum (Duluth, MN: Minnesota Program Development, 1986).

			12. Patrick Fanning and Matthew McKay, Being a Man: A Guide to the New Masculinity (Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 1993).

			13. W.J. Mussell, Warrior-Caregivers: Understanding the Challenges and Healing of First Nations Men (Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2005).

			14. Statistics Canada, Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2011 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2011),

			15. Anishnawbe are Ojibway, and Ukwehu:we are Iroquois, Oneida.

			16. In 1875, Captain Richard Henry Pratt, 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, founder of the Carlisle School for Indian Students, used this statement as the motto for retraining Indian prisoners in Florida and later in the school. See

		 			CHAPTER 2

Cutting to the Roots of Colonial Masculinity

			Scott L. Morgensen

			Colonial masculinities arose to violently control and replace distinctive gender systems among Indigenous peoples. Tracing any form of colonial masculinity to its historical roots may create useful tools for Indigenous or non-Indigenous people who wish to interrupt or undo its power. My critique of colonial masculinity in this essay presents a white settler response to Indigenous people who are participating in the redefinition and resurgence of Indigenous governance.1 Across differences in law, culture, or relationships to colonization, many Indigenous modes of governance recall gendered epistemologies that can interrupt the foundations of colonial governance, including colonial masculinity, as reviewed in this volume by Leah Sneider. In addition, Brendan Hokowhitu in this volume asks how colonial interests within European settler states have helped craft “traditional” Indigenous masculinities that “functioned strategically through complicity with and assimilation into forms of invader masculinity.” Hokowhitu invites the formation of Indigenous movements that refuse to reproduce heteropatriarchal power. In response, I turn to the work of identifying and challenging colonial masculinity within the political, economic, social, and cultural contexts of white settler societies: for their gendered transformation, as Indigenous critics argue, will be necessary to their decolonization.

			Indigenous theories of gender and colonial power—and, notably among them, Indigenous feminist and Two-Spirit critiques—present the dynamic intellectual and political models to which this essay responds. Indigenous writers have illustrated the myriad ways that colonization acts through gender and sexuality, and they explain heteropatriarchy as a colonial construct within Indigenous and white settler societies. In the Spanish “extermination of the joyas” and its commitment to “gendercide,” recounted by Deborah Miranda; the French and British stereotyping of Indigenous women that facilitated conquest and sexual violence, as told by Kim Anderson, Winona Stevenson, and Janice Acoose; and settler state impositions of heteropatriarchal rule explained by Bonita Lawrence and Pamela Palmater: gender and sexuality appear not incidental but instrumental to the colonization of Indigenous peoples.2 As Sneider recounts, such works also teach that where gender complementarity within Indigenous societies set a basis for “social balance and the responsibility and power to act,” European invaders interpreted this as a threat and made transforming or eliminating Indigenous gender systems a central tenet of their colonial regimes.

			This essay traces how colonial masculinity arose in the Americas from within relations between Europeans and Indigenous peoples, as both an answer to changing European gender and sexual regimes and as a means to establish white settler law. I consider the following questions: What gendered subjectivities—what ways of thinking and living as gendered persons—did Europeans bring to the Americas and to their colonial relationships with Indigenous peoples? How did those subjectivities vary across early modern or modern gender systems; and in each case, how did they enact colonial violence? How did gender change among European settlers once they had established methods for governing white settler societies? And how did all of these changes in gender and governance produce specific forms of colonial masculinity? While my questions focus on the subjects and social lives that Europeans brought to or invented in settler states, I interpret them all as relational: for all formed in relation to Indigenous peoples and their colonization, given that colonial subjectivities exist to dominate another. From this premise my account sustains two key points. First, for colonial masculinity to achieve dominance, it had to be invented: European modes of manhood arrived on Indigenous lands, changed as they participated in colonial violence, and became entrenched as methods of settler rule. As creations of conquest, forms of colonial masculinity are not natural, necessary, or permanent, any more than is colonization itself. Second, amid the myriad changes that took place in colonial societies, as the logics and methods of colonization shifted, colonial masculinity also changed. Given that colonial masculinity had to change to sustain its power, we might hope that further changes could bring it to its end. But even if we accept colonial masculinity’s mutability, we must beware of this: for if its function is to change, then our criticisms of it may only cause it to take new forms and persist. For this reason, I write to support all efforts to bring colonial masculinity to its end: a dissolution already envisioned and underway in Indigenous people’s struggles for decolonization.

			My account applies two approaches to historical analysis that I hope may be useful to critical Indigenous studies of masculinity. First, by emphasizing colonialism as relational, I reframe histories of gender and sexuality in early modern and modern Europe in terms of their dependence on colonization in the Americas. As Ann Stoler argued when applying the work of Michel Foucault to European colonies of extraction, I suggest that even if a theory of European gender or sexuality ignores colonial history, it may still leave clues to how those formations were remade by colonial relationships to Indigenous peoples.3 Second, I speculate regarding how a return to the colonial archive, led by Indigenous criticism, might generate new knowledge. Revisiting historical evidence can shift expectations, as Linda Tuhiwai Smith argues, from stabilizing colonial premises to sparking anti-colonial modes of interpretation and analysis.4 In these respects, my historical claims are speculative in that they are interested in further study, just as they attempt to incisively answer insurgent indigenist criticism that challenges gendered and sexual power. Located as I am within forms of colonial masculinity, as their white settler cisgender inheritor—despite being their potential queer target, or a critic of their power—the power of colonial masculinity shapes my life and informs any insights I can imagine. From this place, and as a contributor to this volume, I write in the hope that my critical takes on colonial masculinity may prove useful to Indigenous people who are reimagining Indigenous masculinities.

			Early Modern European Manhood and the Colonial Encounter

			As Spanish and Portuguese and, later, French, British, and Dutch colonists arrived in the Americas, their early modern European understandings of gender were redeployed in colonial encounters with Indigenous peoples. Historical scholarship on this era remains open to many questions: Across various sites, how did early modern European gender systems encounter and respond to Indigenous societies? How did they continue to form during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in specific relationship to the colonization of Indigenous peoples? What gendered qualities informed the initial colonial regimes that Europeans established in relation to Indigenous peoples? And how did all of these processes help establish forms of colonial masculinity on these lands? By beginning my account in early modern cases, I emphasize that if colonial masculinity arises as early as initial colonization in the Americas, then it did not form on identical terms to its practice today. Historians trace significant changes within and across early modern and modern European gender systems, not least of these being the redefinition of gender after the eighteenth century by modern sciences of race and sexuality. This historical specificity reminds us to carefully consider to what degree we can interpret early modern Europeans or Indigenous peoples of those times through analytics of “race” or “sexuality.” Colonial gender systems formed dynamically in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on distinct terms: some of which, I speculate, must inform the initial and persistent shapes taken by colonial masculinity in the Americas.

			The gendered re-evaluation of colonial encounters can take inspiration from the interest of scholars of early modern Europe in the malleability of manhood. For instance, Alexandra Shepard examines how in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, manhood was determined to be reserved to some according to markers of status or age. Denial of socially affirmed manhood to young or working-class men led to their asserting what Shepard calls alternative logics of manhood. But the tenuousness of these alternatives in English society highlighted that the manhood Shepard calls hegemonic asserted its priority by tying its qualities to manhood as such, and scrutinizing others for failing to achieve its status.5 In a distinct case, Edward Behrend-Martinez traces how in seventeenth-century Spain, legal and ecclesiastical inquiries into cases of divorce due to impotence reveal that “manhood was a restricted status,” one determined to fail to apply not just to females but also to males who could not meet standards of manly comportment or livelihood.6 My interest here is in the implication of early modern European forms of manhood being understood as matters of achievement, as scarce goods, or as insecure or perishable if debility or certain gendered actions resulted in being “unmanned.” Was manhood known, or under what conditions might it have been known as containing a threatening capacity to be lost due to failures to cultivate, protect, or retain its power?7 Such concerns also animate modern “hegemonic manhood”: Raewyn Connell’s term for the dominant gendered form animating European empire and global capital.8 Yet, as I will discuss, Michel Foucault raised similar arguments with respect to a shift from early modern European interpretations of sexual practice. Sexual sciences in the eighteenth century began defining sexual perversion as the property of sexual minorities; but early modern accounts tended to frame a perversion like sodomy as (what Foucault called) a “temporary aberration,” and thus as a threat to manhood, given that it could be practised by, or potentially discovered among, any men.9 With all this in mind, I ask: How did Europeans bring to the Americas knowledges that manhood as such, or their manhood in particular, required achievement or remained open to failure? And how might this have informed how colonizers differentiated Europeans from Indigenous peoples?

			Indigenous feminist and Two-Spirit critics demonstrate that Indigenous gender systems appeared to Europeans to be ambiguous or aberrant. Indigenous scholars show that when Europeans encountered the complementarity of Indigenous women’s and men’s authority and leadership, they perceived it as a barrier or threat to imposing heteropatriarchal rule via economic, political, or religious means, as Sneider reviews. In particular, Winona Stevenson and Kim Anderson highlight sexual agency as a site of conflict, once Indigenous women’s autonomy over desire, partnership, and marriage became targets for European reeducation, or were reframed by colonizers around sexual stereotyping that facilitated exploitation and violence against Indigenous women.10 For Deborah Miranda, the gendered logic of colonization is exposed when Europeans rejected Indigenous peoples’ recognition of gender roles that exceeded European ideas of binary sex/gender. Referencing the Spanish invasion of California as well as colonization across the Americas, Miranda explains that Europeans violently established colonial rule on heteropatriarchal terms by practising “gendercide”: the systematic targeting, punishment, and attempted elimination of traditional gender roles that Indigenous people recognized as “neither fully male nor fully female … but a unique blend of characteristics resulting in a third or other gender.”11 Across the hemisphere, Europeans encountered many Indigenous societies in which sex and gender were known to be greater than two, sexual partnership between people of the same sex was recognized or acceptable, and no edict held that human nature barred such diversity. Certainly, across their diversity Indigenous societies defined gender in a wide variety of ways, and not all recalled distinctive roles like those Miranda invoked.12 Nevertheless, at the time of contact with Europeans, Indigenous peoples of the Americas shared in not having instituted something then emerging in Europe: total religious or scientific judgment of all non-binary gender and same-sex sexuality as immoral and unnatural. These are among the differences that set up manhood as a site of conflict within European efforts to assert control over Indigenous peoples.

			With inspiration by such works, how can we trace the importance of gendered violence against Indigenous men, or against people whom Europeans perceived to be men, as part of the establishment of colonial rule? How did colonizers direct gendered violence against gender diversity, same-sex sexuality, or any implication that Indigenous men had failed to achieve European standards for manhood? Miranda recounts that manhood became central to colonial violence when Indigenous gender or sexual diversity exceeded what Europeans deemed permissible. Reports of Spanish invasions highlight the targeting of individuals whom invaders read as male-bodied or intersex and as living in what they perceived as a feminine gender role. Undoubtedly, many persons described in these ways presented the traditional gender diversity of their nations: which many Indigenous LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people reclaim today as their contribution to the resurgence of Indigenous culture and governance.13 In many such traditions, people who were recognized within genders other than “woman” or “man” were, and remain integral to, families, partnerships, and collective culture, religion, and governance. Their lives significantly informed Indigenous understandings of human potential and differences in ways that colonizers refused to comprehend. Following Miranda, we see that Spanish efforts to practise gendercide against persons whom they read as gender-variant men—or joyas (“jewels”) in the colonizers’ terms—attacked not only those individuals but also the communities that had accepted and embraced them. Colonial violence against individuals also sought to violently restructure Indigenous peoples as a whole, so that the shared values that had accepted gender or sexual diversity also would disappear.

			The capacity of this violence to illuminate colonial perceptions of manhood is deepened by the term first used by the Spanish to frame it—“berdache”—which tells a specific story of European heteropatriarchal and imperial aspirations. Of French origin, “berdache” translates as “kept boy” or “boy slave”14: that is, as a subordinate male (young, or read as youthful) who is imagined to have been turned into a sexual slave by adult men, and as a result to have been psychically if not also physically feminized.15 In this early modern French and Spanish usage, the term purportedly translated a word from Farsi, which in its own right appeared to be reporting to Europeans that Middle Eastern or Muslim societies were a source of this form of violent adult male coercion of young men into effeminizing sexual relations. I write skeptically here to indicate the colonial violence already embedded in this term: Orientalist European fantasies about debased and effeminizing Middle Eastern or Muslim manhood fit the political uses of gender in early modern Europe. Immediately after achieving the Reconquista of the Iberian Muslim caliphates, Spanish conquistadores met Indigenous Americans through this racialized, imperialist, and Orientalist narrative. Of course, projecting “berdache” onto either Muslims or “Indians” also deflected attention away from the proclivities that European men knew already might be present among themselves. In turn, because “berdache” invoked not just one person but an imagined male sexual economy, its colonial usage in the Americas actually projected sexual immorality onto Indigenous men collectively. In this way, colonizers deployed “berdache” or similar stories about gender or sexual transgression among Indigenous men to justify violating and assimilating Indigenous peoples under colonial patriarchal rule: attacks on Indigenous manhood that targeted gender diversity proved crucial to establishing colonial rule. Then, the colonial relationships that the new social order established also produced colonists, just as they refashioned Indigenous people: for as victorious rulers, European men were positioned relationally to Indigenous people as manly and moral patriarchs, while subordination framed Indigenous male leadership in an unmanly status that could be read as undeserving of self-government. The gendered story of “berdache” functioned by altering identity for all Indigenous people and for European invaders, while facilitating broad establishment of a colonial and