Summary of Andrea Smith "Conquest"

1177 Words Nov 22nd, 2011 5 Pages
Chapter 1, Sexual Violence as a Tool of Genocide, discusses the history of and gives us an introduction to genocide. The author talks about the treatment of bodies, in particular Native bodies, and how colonial thought and theory regards Native people as inherently “rapable” and “violable,” a colonial conviction that stretches past the physical bodies of Natives, to Native independence and lands as well. She explains that patriarchy is the foundation by which power is established over Native women's bodies because hierarchal, patriarchal authority and control systems of society are seldom found within native societies. Europeans, on the other hand, have long depended on these methods to suppress and infuse fear into their people. …show more content…
Environmental devastation has a direct impact on customary women's roles, such as the midwife, as well as the ways women's bodies are harmfully affected by the environment. According to Smith, such violations of Native lands are committed largely because of the racist colonial belief that Native peoples are “inherently impure and dirty”, thus they are morally subject to having toxic waste and other hazardous biological and chemical poisons dumped on their environment. Therefore, environmental racism (in particular toxins, mining, and population growth) becomes a new form of sexual violence in which women are ignored when any kind of clean-up takes place.

Chapter 4, “Better Dead than Pregnant:” The Colonization of Native Womens’ Reproductive Health, discusses women's bodies being utilized as an experimental ground for reproduction and medical testing. Smith argues that racism plays a key role in the common anxieties about a rise in the global population. Even though population control organizations may claim to want to reduce the size of every ethnic and racial group, in the end, they often work to reduce populations of color. This reality leads to Smith’s argument of reproductive rights, which she views as a thinly veiled effort to destroy and control Native American communities. An illustration of this direct violation of women's reproductive rights was when the "Indian Health