Word Count 1,250-2,500
Essay must have a works cited page using the current MLA citation style. All of them
Analysis of Gender and Sexuality in “Tokinish” and Postcolonial Love Poem and at least one reading assigned during week 9
a. One way of looking at James Thomas Stevens’ “Tokinish” is to read it as a pastoral-coded love poem from a Mohawk man about, though not necessarily to, his Beloved, a White man, and discusses his conflict with their love while knowing the bloody history of American colonialism and America’s history of violent anti-queer history—which explains, beyond the stereotype of Natives-as-Elves discussed by Dr. Jones, why the poem is thusly coded as pastoral. Then when we look at Postcolonial Love Poem, by Natalie Diaz published 20 years later in a far more open and queer-positive time than the late-90s and early 2000s when “Tokinish” was published (though far from ideal), when things like The Gay Panic Defense was a legally accepted way to acquit a straight person for the murder of someone who was suspected to be queer, or the various “same-sex marriage bans” throughout the late 90s that coalesce into a proposed 2003 Amendment to the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, an amendment favored by then President, George W. Bush, which thankfully never made it out of The House of Representatives.
Analyze a commonality in what we can see in these two monumental (“Tokinish” and Postcolonial Love Poem) works of queer indigenous poetry, as well as at least one work from another queer poet to do. You may include outside research in this essay if you so choose.
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