Conference 2021

About the conference

This conference celebrates the work of the increasing numbers of American Indian and First Nations thinkers and creative artists who are centering ideas of sexuality and eroticism in their work, as well as examining the nexus of sexuality and sovereignty in wider Native American cultures and histories. Whether in the form of Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm’s anthology Without Reservation: Indigenous Erotica (2003), Brent Learned’s 2017 exhibition Native American Body of Art, or the Edmonton-based ongoing “sexy performance laboratory” Tipi Confessions, not to mention the landmark 2011 collection Sovereign Erotics after which the conference is titled, Indigenous artists have clearly found a powerful sense of sovereignty in the erotic. This has been accompanied by much academic work, particularly from Two-Spirit thinkers, into the history and ethos of tribal understandings of gender and sexuality. Such moves take on all the more force in a context too often dominated by trivializing, distorting, and demeaning settler concepts of sex and sexuality, in which many Native women, children, and LGBTQ2IA+ individuals carry a heavy burden of abuse. However, the decolonization of the erotic is anything but straightforward, raising questions of the body’s interaction with tradition, modernity, gender, and sexuality.

Keynote Speakers


Tiffany Lethabo King

Kai Minosh Pyle

Lisa Tatonetti

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