Queerness in Lee Maracle´s Ravensong

Decent Essays

Author Lee Maracle’s 1993 novel Ravensong doesn’t centre around queerness or lesbian sexuality or two-spirit identity in the way that you might expect in a book reviewed here. It’s a beautiful and powerful novel about settler and Indigenous relations regardless, but its main character Stacey, a young Salish woman living on a reserve in the 1950s, isn’t explicitly or implicity queer (although she is potentially queer, I would say, given Maracle’s take on sexuality). There is, however, a lesbian couple who feature as secondary characters in Ravensong, and I think their inclusion is really significant, for a few reasons. Mostly, I find the way that the novel deals with queer sexuality in relation to its politics of decolonization fascinating. In fact, I think honing in on how the novel deals with queerness is a great way to understand what it’s trying to do in terms of decolonizing. The absence in Ravensong of an explicit assertion of queerness, the fact that it doesn’t “come out,” as it were, as a queer text, is no failure at all but rather indicates an entirely different method of interrogating issues of queer sexuality. Let me explain: The main plot of Ravensong revolves around Stacey, who is a high school student in “white town” while living on her community’s reserve. Stacey is continually negotiating how to fit in and succeed in school (she hopes to attend UBC to become a teacher and would be the first Native woman to do so) and how to remain a solid member of

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