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Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  868 ratings  ·  65 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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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
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,
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
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
Rachel Jackson
Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide is one of the increasing number of books that leaves me absolutely speechless with rage. I've read plenty that evokes a visceral reaction in some capacity, but it's an entirely different matter when the subject of the book is a real life thing that happened to someone. And that's all that Andrea Smith discusses in this book.

It's an extremely well-researched and in-depth look at Native American history and exploitation, aimed specifically at
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
Re-read on the heels of Luana Ross' "Inventing the Savage: The Social Construction of Native American Criminality" and the two are an excellent pairing in that order. Smith cites Ross and her material dovetails and is a modern and expanded off shoot of most of Ross's points. Discovered that I had apparently taken notes on my Ipad from the first time I read it. Expanded them and they are included below.


Thesis: "This book will focus particularly on sexual violence as a tool of patriar
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
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.
Yasmin Wahid
Some of the things I read are so astonishing but they opened up my eyes to all the inequality and discrimination.
Aug 01, 2015 1907 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 65
i think it will be good strange book for me
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.
It took me awhile to read this book, and I purposefully took my time on it because the material is heavy. Sometimes I had to walk away and contemplate the section I just read, other times it took a huge emotional toll on me, nevertheless I learned so much. There's so much I want to say about this book, because I whole-heartily love it, but I think you should just read it. Thank you, Andrea for teaching me so much.

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.
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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 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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