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Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide
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Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide

4.48 of 5 stars 4.48  ·  rating details  ·  707 ratings  ·  57 reviews
A recognized Native American scholar and co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, the largest grassroots, multiracial feminist organization in the country, Andrea Smith (Cherokee) is an emerging leader in progressive political circles. In Conquest, Smith places Native American women at the center of her analysis of sexual violence, challenging both convention...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by South End Press
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I'm astonished at both the scope and depth of this relatively slim volume - Andrea Smith covers everything from the secret histories of residential schools, to forced sterilizations in American Indian communities, to New Age spiritual appropriation and theft as a mechanism of colonialism charged with sexual violence. But this is no publish-or-perish anthropological survey, rather a call for systemic change meant to end sexual violence and empower native peoples everywhere. In addition, Smith is...more
Violence against Native American women and women of color is a marginalized issue, as is the topic of how colonialist/genocidal policies get internalized in corporate and state decision-making.

Smith asks why sexual violence is so prevalent in the U.S. in the first place, and provides historical answers.

Each chapter is direct, well-researched, and unsettling. Smith's scholarship on environmental racism, American Indian boarding schools, the appropriation and disrespect of Native American spiritua...more
Everyone should read this book.

Smith unpacks politics, economics, culture, sexuality, colonialism, and spirituality in this slim book. It's a searing indictment of the United States' policies toward American Indian people, and the consequences of colonialism upon the bodies of Native people - particularly women; particularly in terms of the systemic and personal violence they withstand.

The book has permanently shifted my perception of organizations I thought were doing good - Planned Parenthood,...more
Oct 10, 2012 Tope rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: interested in american history or social justice (esp. anti-DV or anti-racism)
Smith's account of the many, many ways state and societal violence have been and continue to be perpetrated against indigenous people (focusing mostly on the Americas) is a difficult but necessary read. Seriously, all non-indigenous Americans should read this book. Longer thoughts coming.

eta:Conquest starts with the observation that sexual and reproductive violence against Native women are forms of racial and colonial violence, unpacking the various ways in which sexual violence "serves the goal...more
May 24, 2007 Priyanka rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: For those interested in human rights
The title says it. Andrea Smith writes with clarity and delivers her arguments with powerful evidence that can sometimes be very disturbing to read. After reading it, it feels like a central piece that was once missing in history's great puzzle is finally in place. She makes connections between feminism, current U.S. politics, history, environmental justice, and human rights. I would recommend this excellent book to everyone.
Andrea Smith is brilliant and while i found some of this book to be a bit didactic mostly I think her writing is clear and straightforward. And boy is she pissed. With good reason.

Laurie Neighbors
Assigning this book as a "capstone" reading for an undergrad course I'm teaching in the fall that examines US health movements in the twentieth century through an oppression/resistance lens.

Smith's book brings it all together -- environmental justice, sexual violence, poverty, medical experiments, forced sterilization and other issues of reproductive justice, immigrant health, health care access, etc. -- and fills in the gaps left by our other reading assignments, particularly in terms of socia...more
Simply amazing. It focuses on the subtitle (sexual violence and the American Indian genocide) but broadens what sexual violence means. It speaks of the poisoning of the environment, the (mis)management of the land/"wild", the introduction of alcohol, the squashing of native spirituality, the "othering" of a people... everyone should read this.
A professor of mine that I greatly admire gave this book to me about two years ago, and I just got around to reading it. I was absolutely floored by the brilliance of Prof. Smith's argument against the US Empire and its use of sexual violence (bodily, environmentally and metaphorically) as a means of oppression for particularly indigenous women, but against all people of color (and all people in general!).

Prof. Smith's argument is not only well supported; it is passionate and creative. Her take...more
Dani Miller
This was a great read. It really opens your eyes to the dynamics of conquest, in result the reader can see that play out in ways that conquest and cultural imperialism still happens today. People always act like cultural appropriation and sexualizing native women is no big deal. This book explains how sexualizing native women has been a tool for conquest, therefore it IS a big deal. It also expands on other instances of cultural appropriation or ways that native american's identities are trivial...more
In this breakthrough book, Andrea Smith analyses how in order to successfully colonize American Indians, First Nations and Inuits, the U.S and Canadian nation states have employed sexualized violence. Rendering Native women inherently violable, meant their lands were inherently violable. She details the barbaric ways Europeans raped and slaughtered Natives in order to cleanse the body politic of ‘pollutants’. Simultaneously Europeans sought to instill patriarchy in the gender egalitarian systems...more
This is one of the most brilliant and informative books I have ever read. Andrea Smith is a genius. I was captivated from the first word.

This is one of those books that should be mandated for every child in high school. I bet people would be surprised to learn that "liberal" orgs who are all about women's rights and environmentalism (ex. Sierra Club) actually advocate for policies that effectively destroy - physically and mentally - communities of color, esp native peoples. I'm reminded of that...more
Loren Toddy
A severely horrific book about stuff most Native's hear about but don't know the extent of the extinction agenda being enacted upon us as a people. Women in this book, and in reality get it the worse. Violations on all fronts. Raped in every concievable way possible. I could go on and on but there is just so much in this book that saddens one's heart and spark a renewed anger. The language like most Native American books would even challange English born speakers into submission. That is the onl...more
Jun 10, 2009 Margaret rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Margaret by: Oyceter
This is an utterly eye-opening, fierce, and challenging book which makes a compelling link between sexual violence and American colonialism, both historical and contemporary. Some of what she writes about historical violence against American Indians was known to me, but her exploration of present-day abuses was much newer to me, surprising and horrifying. I was particularly struck by the chapters on environmental racism (and will be looking much more closely at the mail I get from the Sierra Clu...more
Smith writes an amazing book and the critical connections she makes are phenomenal. It was a difficult read for myself a white, middle-class priveleged woman but it certainly changed the way I look at the world and my responsibility for what has occured in history. I think this book provided one of those key turning points for me in that like slavery and contemporary racism, I can no longer say that I am not responsible but rather what am I going to do now that I recognize my role in the oppress...more
Nov 01, 2008 Ciara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: feminists, folks interested in the intersection of race & gender, community activists, indians
LOVE this book! go read it right now! andrea smith writes an INCREDIBLE book about the sexual violence practiced against all american indians in the last 500 years, & especially indian women. it was published by boston's own south end press, which made me so proud to live in boston. this book blew mymind--well-researched, passionate, straightforward, full of important information, & best of all, smith uses her brilliant mind to brainstorm solutions to many of the problems she addresses,...more
This is an excellent book. Anyone should read it who's interested in race/ethnicity, gender, and any type of power relations. Powerful and compelling. And horrific.
I thought that Smith did an excellent job on giving a thorough account on violence that Native Americans face. I do not really agree on her pro-choice stance though.
Jan 06, 2011 Travis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
In this book, Smith examines how colonialism is tied to sexual violence and how that lense can be used to examine what has been done and is still being done to Native Americans, especially Native American women. This covers not just what we generally think of as sexual violence, but also cultural appropriation, environmental damage, and population control. It's a really excellent book and while it wasn't written in a casual manner, I found the language pretty easy to follow most of the time.
Elizabeth Ruth
this has a lot of really important things to say about sexual violence against native women in the united states (native women are more than twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than any other ethnic group). it's also full of a lot of conspiracy theory-the vaccines are killing us-pretty out there stuff. however, that's only a minor distraction from the cold, hard facts. worth understanding that the ripples and echoes of genocide continue in these women's lives today.
This is a powerful book, and an important one to read, but it was very difficult for me to read. I only made it halfway through before I felt too traumatized to continue. I want to be clear, however, that this is an incredibly important book that needs and deserves to be read in order to understand fully the pain and torment our forefathers put Native Americans through, and how this chapter of history has been completely glossed over. I hope someday to be able to finish it.
Razan Abu-hashish
hoy shit overall. some parts were hella boring. too much statistics/repetitive facts. but other than that it was really great. some things are really obvious like control of land--and physical bodies being related (through capitalist critique) but i dont think her argument was necessarily about proving to ppl those connections exist. anyways, im almost done w it. cant believe ppl can be in such a state of cruel optimism at this historical point of complete crisis/doom.
Andrea Smith aptly writes on the white patriarchal colonial nation-states' (United States & Canada) campaigns of sexual violence and genocide against indigenous populations. I did not quite follow Smith's argument that spiritual appropriation is sexual in its violent nature, but maybe I just need to re-read this chapter. Most exciting to me was the chapter providing examples of responses to colonialisms and more possible remedies.
This is one of my favorite feminist books. It's a good overview for those unfamiliar of some of the issues with colonialism and indigenous people generally, but native women in particular. The perspective is feminist/activist and Smith's narrative is very easy to follow. You'll come away feeling like you've learned something, and hopefully, will have some ideas for how to change the deplorable status quo.
these are the most important 191 pages i have ever read. i can't recommend this book highly enough. smith tackles enormous issues in plain language, with deftness and grace, and references everything. she is focused on native women's issues without neglecting the ways topics such as domestic violence or the penal system effect other populations. should be required reading for living on u.s. soil.
Chelsey Pennyamon
A brief, interesting. sometimes-devastating overview of sexual violence and its link to colonial conquest and dominance in Indigineous American communities. I wish the author could have gone into more depth certain dynamics, but she provided unfamiliar readers such as myself with accessible summaries of complicated historical trends and traces them up to present-day.
While an important read full,of information, the analysis itself IMHO is lacking. I wanted to really to like this book, but the so called analysis was too often stretched from anecdotal stories and made to fit into what the author wanted to present as something new and deep. It wasn't in fact either new or deep.I found it in the end disappointing. It needs updating.
This book will churn your stomach and haunt your mind. It should. It is a well-written account of the continuing violence against Native American peoples (specifically within the United States), and the author uses solid logic, reason, and slews of evidence to support her claims. I recommend that anyone and everyone read this book.
Had to read it for a college class... those are hours I will never get back. I kind of think the author is kind of nuts, trying to tie in colonization with how we treat Native American women today. She then jumps around to other atrocities that occurred in times past, and tries to tie them to today... I just don't buy it.
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Andrea Smith is a Cherokee intellectual, feminist, and anti-violence activist. Smith's work focuses on issues of violence against women of color and their communities, specifically Native American women.

Along with Nadine Naber, she co-founded INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence in 2000, and she plays a prominent role in its National Planning Committee. INCITE! is a national grassroots organiza...more
More about Andrea Lee Smith...
Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities Sexuality, Nationality, Indigeneity

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