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Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide

4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0896087439
ISBN-10: 0896087433
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Editorial Reviews


"A must-read for everyone concerned about Native people and our Native world."
(Haunani-Kay Trask, author of From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai'i)

"Conquest is the book Aboriginal women have been waiting for. Andrea Smith has not only meticulously researched the place of rape and violence against Indigenous women in the colonial process, but she is the first to fully articulate the connections between violence against the earth, violence against women, and North America's terrible inclination toward war."
(Lee Maracle, author of I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism)

"Andrea Smith has no fear. She challenges conventional activist thinking about global and local, sexism and racism, genocide and imperialism. But what's more, in every chapter she tries to answer the key question: What is to be done? Conquest is unsettling, ambitious, brilliant, disturbing: read it, debate it, use it."
(Ruth Wilson Gilmore, The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

"Andrea Smith brilliantly weaves together feminist explanations of violence against Native women, the historical data regarding colonialism and genocide, and a strong critique of the current responses to the gender violence against women of color . . . Conquest is one of the most significant contributions to the literature in Native Studies, feminist theory, and social movement theory in recent years."
(Beth E. Richie, author of Compelled to Crime: The Gender Entrapment of Battered Black Women)

"Whether it is our reliance on the criminal justice system to protect women from violence or the legitimacy of the U.S. as a colonial nation-state, Andrea Smith's incisive and courageous analysis cuts through many of our accepted truths and reveals a new way of knowing rooted in Native women's histories of struggle. More than a call for action, this book provides sophisticated strategies and practical examples of organizing that simultaneously take on state and interpersonal violence. Conquest is a must-read not only for those concerned with violence against women and Native sovereignty, but also for antiracist, reproductive rights, environmental justice, antiprison, immigrant rights, and antiwar activists."
(Julia Sudbury, editor of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex)

"Give thanks for the very great honor of listening to Andrea Smith. This book will burn a hole right through your mind with its accurate analysis and the concise compilation of information that makes it the first of its kind. Conquest is not only instructive, it is healing. I want every Indian I know to read it."
(Chrystos, artist, poet, and activist)

"Conquest radically rethinks the historical scope and dimensionality of 'sexual violence,' a historical vector of bodily domination that is too often reduced to universalizing—hence racist—narratives of gendered oppression and resistance. Offering a breathtaking genealogy of white supremacist genocide and colonization in North America, this book provides a theoretical model that speaks urgently to a broad continuum of political and intellectual traditions. In this incisive and stunningly comprehensive work, we learn how the proliferation of sexual violence as a normalized feature of modern Euro-American patriarchies is inseparable from violence against Indigenous women, and women of color. In Conquest, Andrea Smith has presented us with an epochal challenge, one that should productively disrupt and perhaps transform our visions of liberation and radical freedom."
(Dylan Rodríguez, University of California, Riverside)

"Conquest is not for those who flinch from an honest examination of white supremacist history, or who shy away from today's controversies in the reproductive health and anti-violence movements. This book is a tough, thoughtful, and passionate analysis of the colonization of America and the resistance of Indigenous women. Andrea Smith is one of this country's premiere intellectuals and a good old-fashioned organizer—a rare combination that illuminates her praxis and gift to social justice movement building in the 21st century."

(Loretta Ross, coauthor of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice and cofounder of Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Andrea Smith is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances and coeditor of Theorizing Native Studies, both also published by Duke University Press.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896087433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896087439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is outstanding! Ms. Smith presents a clear and cogent treatise of the problems Native Americans have which were created by the Colonizers. Within a few pages you come to the realization that your knowledge of Native Americans is below average at best. I am African and not only was I able to relate to her because of the obvious similarities of our predicaments but I was also extremely impressed by Ms. Smith's knowledge of Black History and the subsequent connections she was able to make pertaining to our struggles. After reading this book you'll see that the best way to assist not only Native Americans but all Ethnic Groups is to first listen...I mean really listen.
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Format: Paperback
In this examination of sexual violence used as tool of patriarchy and colonialism in Native American Indian communities, both historically and presently, Andrea Smith leaves no stone unturned.

She spares neither governments for their racist and harmful policies regarding indigenous peoples and the lands they live on, nor feminists and activists for their sometimes racist views and short-sightedness in their zeal to promote and protect their own respective interests. This is a rare treat to have such a carefully researched analysis made accessible in this book, from an academic and activist who is herself a Native American Indian.

Her thorough analysis of Native American Indian women being adversely affected by government policies still tainted by colonialist mentality--such as through nuclear testing on or near Native American Indian reservations by our government, or being used as guinea pigs by pharmaceutical companies testing new drugs, sends one, very clear message: Native American Indians are considered expendable by our government. Reproductive health problems, babies born with health problems, and poor access to health care (often substandard) are only a few issues these women pay dearly for as a result of unfair governmental policies. The police brutality occuring on reservations, or against Native American Indians in general living outside their communities that she researched,is unspeakable. And heartbreaking. It is a shame to have to realize these abuses are happening in the 21st century.

Smith also brings to light the attitudes of other governments, such as Canada and Peru (as well as NATO) toward their own indigenous people: the prevailing consensus is that they are all expendable.
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Format: Paperback
Smith's groundbreaking book should be required reading for all rape crisis advocates in North America. Not only does she provide a scholarly examination of the link between colonial genocide and sexual violence, Smith also provides context for contemporary activism and solutions. Forget everything you thought you knew about rape and sexual abuse and be prepared to re-think what it means to be a feminist and advocate. Smith's eloquence and thoughtfulness make reading this text an ideal starting point for dialogue in both academia and grassroots organizations. You will learn about how historical events continue to have an impact today and how the mainstream (white) rape crisis movement has fallen short of providing comprehensive analysis of sexual violence.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Conquest truly is an eye-opener as it takes us through the journey of the lesser known American Indian Genocide really giving a new perspective on a rather unknown topic. Overall the book reads well and flows consistently but there are parts which are drawn out or hung on for too long which will seem like a drag. I must warn that it is indeed a powerful read that there will be scenes throughout the book that will tug on heart strings and test your emotional capacity.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was purchased as 1 of 4 books required for a Gender and Race History class. The information in it is superb and well-cited. However, it needed a much firmer editor's hand: Andrea tends to wander off track a lot, and narrative jumps around (sometimes to the point of being hard to follow).

The harsh realities in this book are hard to handle, but I consider it a must-read for anyone studying American history, especially in regards to how white Americans have treated natives, and how it as virtually destroyed their cultures and communities.
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Format: Paperback
The first few chapters present the tragedies that America(as well as Canada, etc..) has committed on Native Americans, and while devastating it is real interesting to read about the boarding schools, sterilization, drug experiments, land taken thru treaties, etc...and abuse that Native Americans recieved from the government. I didn't even know about all the issues that Andrea Smith discusses -but I do know. I loved the first few chapters better then the rest!
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Format: Paperback
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 of Natives in order to normalize hierarchy and to ensure white women wouldn’t object to their oppression by white men. This was most successfully accomplished by the residential boarding school systems which indoctrinated natives into hyper-violent white culture. Many girls were also sterilized there. Smith details the ways Native women have been manipulated and coerced to sterilization, have been medically tested on, and have had industrial pollutants dumped on their lands. The statistics of how many natives and POC are affected by these policies and how pervasive they are, was eye-opening. Also eye-opening was her exposure of the racism of environmental, pro-choice, population control, and reproduction advocates like Planned Parenthood. Smith goes on to provide alternative ways that we can counter violence against women other than through the state. She gives examples of restorative justice projects, reparations as a human right, and organizations not reliant on state funding. I found this section of the book the most educational and definitely pertinent to my own activism.

This is now one of the slogans that I will carry with me into my activism: ‘when you go to power without a base, your demand becomes a request’.

Because I had already read The Color of Violence: The Incite!
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