Expanding Queer Indigenous Traditions as a Vehicle of Futurity

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Declan Smith


In this paper, I bring into conversation the work of Billy-Ray Belcourt to discuss Indigenous concepts of queerness. I argue that Belcourt defines queer Indigenous identities and bodies as distinct from settler concepts of queerness, and the existences of the Indigenous body indicates an Indigenous futurity (Indigenous future existence). Additionally, I draw from the works of Qwo-Li Driskill and June Scudeler. I elaborate how Native concepts of queerness are intrinsically distinct from colonial understandings and practices of queerness, connecting this to how Belcourt distinguishes Indigenous concepts and definitions of queerness from those of settler-colonial society. I also draw upon Sonja Boon and Kate Lahey’s work on drift to further explore how Belcourt evades colonial definitions and expectations. Simultaneously, Belcourt expands and reworks traditions of queer Indigeneity.

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