Missing is not a destination: Bringing the indigenous woman home in MMIW literature


Abstract

This article underscores the relevance of literature within the current Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman movement, which denounces the high rates of violence suffered by Indigenous women in Canada and the USA. As I argue, MMIW literature is a particularly useful form of activism because it makes the problem more visible as it offers a diversity of images that challenge the settler colonial silencing, dehumanizing and pathologizing of the Indigenous woman. Literary texts examine the multiple layers of the MMIW issue and its settler colonial sexist/racist roots, and simultaneously search for an emotional response that boosts engagement. The article offers a contextualization of literature within the MMIW movement in connection to activism, it reflects on the challenges of approaching the issue from a non-Indigenous perspective, and it engages in a close reading of works by Tanaya Winder and Linda LeGarde Grover to illustrate the most significant features of MMIW poetry and fiction. Both authors challenge the Western narrative of survivorism, moving beyond the passive or guilty victim roles in settler colonial representations, and positing relationality as a key value to refute the silencing and invisibility of Indigenous women.


Keywords

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, settler colonialism, survivorism, artivism, relationality, Marcie Rendon, Tanaya Winder, Linda LeGarde Grover

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Published : 2022-10-01


Martínez-Falquina, S. (2022) “Missing is not a destination: Bringing the indigenous woman home in MMIW literature”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, (37). doi: 10.15290/CR.2022.37.2.06.

Silvia Martínez-Falquina 
University of Zaragoza, Spain  Spain
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8054-095X

Silvia Martínez-Falquina is Associate Professor of US Literature at the University of Zaragoza, Spain. A specialist in ethnic and Native American women’s fiction, she has published Indias y fronteras: El discurso en torno a la mujer étnica (2004). She has also coedited, with Gordon Henry and Nieves Pascual, a collection titled Stories Through Theories/Theories Through Stories: North American Indian Writing, Storytelling, and Critique (2009), and with Bárbara Arizti, she has coedited the collection On the Turn: The Ethics of Fiction in Contemporary Narrative in English (2007). Her latest articles and chapters have appeared in Michigan State University Press, Roczniki Humanistyczne, Lectora: revista de dones i textualitat, Atlantis, Iperstoria, Humanities, and Palgrave Macmillan. Her coedited special issue (with Silvia Pellicer-Ortín and Bárbara Arizti) on the new developments of feminism in Transmodernity was published in The European Legacy in 2021. From 2018 to 2021, she was Chief Editor of Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies (literature, film and cultural studies). Since 2003, she has been a member of the Contemporary Narrative in English research group at the University of Zaragoza, and she is currently working on the research project “Literature Of(f) Limits: Pluriversal Cosmologies and Relational Identities in Present-Day Writing in English” (LimLit).