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New Directions in Law and Literature$
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Elizabeth S. Anker and Bernadette Meyler

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456368

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456368.001.0001

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Genocide by Other Means

Genocide by Other Means

US Federal Indian Law and Violence against Native Women in Louise Erdrich’s The Round House

Chapter:
(p.264) Chapter 15 Genocide by Other Means
Source:
New Directions in Law and Literature
Author(s):

Eric Cheyfitz

Shari M. Huhndorf

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456368.003.0016

Louise Erdrich’s prize-winning novel The Round House tells a story about rape on the reservation that reflects on alarmingly high rates of sexual violence against Native women and the roots of this violence in federal Indian law. This chapter takes the novel as a starting point for analyzing contrasts between indigenous and European conceptions of law, including the relationship between law and literature, and the ways that federal Indian law has historically served as an instrument of genocide and colonial expansion. Erdrich’s novel, the chapter argues, draws out the material consequences of the legal and political disempowerment of tribes and the imposition of federal legal authority, and it upholds tribal law as providing the sole path to justice in colonial contexts.

Keywords:   federal Indian law, tribal law, sexual violence, Native American literature, Native American women, genocide, Louise Erdrich, The Round House

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