Theorizing Indigeneity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism
In 1924, Virginia passed the Racial Integrity Act. The act enforced the one-drop rule, which made it so that someone was either white or colored, and one drop of non-white meant someone was colored. The only exception to the one-drop rule occurred in cases where white people claimed to be descendants of any Indigenous women, which included Pocahontas. The entanglement of Indigeneity, heterosexuality, and patriarchy, for example, are imposed or heavily regulated by settler colonialism and can never be avoided or erased when one speaks of Indigenous identity. This erasure may be common in many discussions of "biological" and/or visual investigations into race. Native American and Indigenous Studies literatures have explored the histories of North American Indigenous peoples prior to and during European and United States colonization to understand Indigenous systems of identification and gender. Gender systems for many Indigenous peoples are also fluid, differing greatly from gender norms pervasive in United States settler society.