Event Title

Gay Shamans and Gatekeepers: Radical Faeries and the Implications of “Playing Indian” in the New Age

Location

King Building 237

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2018 11:00 AM

End Date

4-27-2018 12:20 PM

Abstract

In this paper, I examine decolonial critiques of the Radical Faerie movement with a focus on how they have appropriated indigenous identity and “played Indian.” I then consider both negative and positive responses to the Radical Faerie movement with a strong focus on Native critiques. These critics argue that the faerie’s displays of whiteshamanism are not harmless, but instead stem from queer colonial behavior. I argue the reactions to this appropriative behavior are justified by Native people, but could also be informed by internalized oppression as a byproduct of colonialism. This especially manifests in the gatekeeping of Native identity and the resistance many feel to understanding the more positive consequences of the relationship between Radical Faeries and indigenous people. Finally, I conclude with proposals to address this conflict by investigating the way ties between these communities could be utilized for intersectional responses to fighting broader systems of oppression.

Keywords:

Radical Faerie, decolonial, New Age, appropriation, gatekeeping identity, indigenous, plastic shamans

Notes

Session I, Panel 1 - Identity | Performativity
Moderator: KJ Cerankowski, Assistant Professor of Comparative American Studies and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies

Major

Religion

Advisor(s)

Margaret Kamitsuka, Religion

Project Mentor(s)

Margaret Kamitsuka, Religion
James Dobbins, Religion
Corey Barnes, Religion

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Apr 27th, 11:00 AM Apr 27th, 12:20 PM

Gay Shamans and Gatekeepers: Radical Faeries and the Implications of “Playing Indian” in the New Age

King Building 237

In this paper, I examine decolonial critiques of the Radical Faerie movement with a focus on how they have appropriated indigenous identity and “played Indian.” I then consider both negative and positive responses to the Radical Faerie movement with a strong focus on Native critiques. These critics argue that the faerie’s displays of whiteshamanism are not harmless, but instead stem from queer colonial behavior. I argue the reactions to this appropriative behavior are justified by Native people, but could also be informed by internalized oppression as a byproduct of colonialism. This especially manifests in the gatekeeping of Native identity and the resistance many feel to understanding the more positive consequences of the relationship between Radical Faeries and indigenous people. Finally, I conclude with proposals to address this conflict by investigating the way ties between these communities could be utilized for intersectional responses to fighting broader systems of oppression.