On Wednesday, September 19th at the University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library, Professor Mishuana Goeman, Tonowanda Band of Seneca, presented a project called Razing the Monumetalizing That Marks Us For Death, which unpacked the geographies and memories depicted in films about murdered and missing indigenous women. At her talk at UNM, Professor Goeman, who is the Chair of American Indian Studies and Associate Professor of Gender Studies at UCLA, led the audience through her nuanced and personal analysis of the increasingly hashtagable conversation occurring in film and social media about the disproportionally high numbers of indigenous women who go missing or are found murdered across the United States and Canada.
Dr. Goeman discussed her what she described as obligation or responsibility to step into the pain and sadness that is involved in the study of missing and murdered sisters, particularly as an indigenous woman herself, whose family has been deeply marked by this particular type of gendered violence. For individuals interested the intersections of law, justice, and bodily sovereignty, a recent case in Alaska, where a white man abducted and sexually assaulted a Native Alaskan woman can serve as a reminder of the obligation described by Dr. Goeman that we have to the women of Indian Country. The man will serve no jail time and not be required to register as a sex offender because the DA “hopes that will not happen again.” Dr. Goeman’s presentation and stories like the one out of Alaska call us to fulfill our responsibilities and work toward futures where women and children are safe, and sovereignty is centered.
Yarrow Allaire is a second year student from Albuquerque’s South Valley.