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3. Obscuring Two-Spirit Deaths in the Films Conversion and Fire Song

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1. Title Title of document 3. Obscuring Two-Spirit Deaths in the Films Conversion and Fire Song - Religion and Sight
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Gabriel Estrada; California State University, Long Beach; United States
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religious Studies
4. Subject Keyword(s) Jolene Rickard; indigenous films; body in film; Nanobah Becker; Lydia Nibley; Adam Garnet Jones; dead body in film; Native American in film
5. Subject Subject classification religion and the body
6. Description Abstract Through “visualizing sovereignty,” Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora) offers a theoretical lens by which to analyze spiritual film images as expressions of indigenous self-determination (1995, 2011). Rickard’s work guides this analysis of how three indigenous films differently represent the deceased body. In the Navajo-language short film Conversion (2005), director Nanobah Becker (Navajo) interrogates the 1950s Christian proselytism on Navajo Nation that leads to the death of a local medicine man. In the film’s climactic scene, Becker honors matrilineal Navajo protocols surrounding the medicine man’s death by not showing his dead body. In contrast, Euro-American director Lydia Nibley breaks this visual corpse protocol in Two Spirits (2010) by depicting near-horror level images of the bloody stoning of Navajo trans* youth Fred Martinez. However, despite Nibley’s inattention to Navajo death protocols and some aspects of visual sovereignty, Native American LGBTQ/Two-Spirit activists were able effect an editing out of the naked muddy bodies of Euro-American Radical Faeries and their settler colonial claims to represent universal queer spirituality in her film. Finally, the Metis-Cree director Adam Garnet Jones graphically presents a rape, two suicides, and rampant drug use in his queer Anishnaabe film Fire Song (2015). While Jones cinematically responds to the ascending trend of teen-suicides and homophobia on First Nation reserves, the film’s resolution of ceremonially burning the dead’s belonging offers too little hope and historical context to counterbalance the feature’s visual depiction of gendered indigenous body traumas. Through attention to camera angle, bodies in shot composition, and film editing, this paper concludes that all three movies demonstrate how obscuring the deceased gendered body can be a strong spiritual act of visualizing sovereignty.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 01-Jul-2020
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.35746
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Religion and Sight
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd