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Yvonne Sherwood

2010 Research

Abstract: Transcending Sovereignty? A literature review of the identity community's descriptions and prescriptions of the fractured and fluid self

Mentors: Pui-Yan Lam, Ph.D. Sociology and Kelly Coogan, Ph.D. Women & Gender Studies

This essay will critically examine the literature that discusses the formation of identity from multiple and intersecting discourses. Specifically, the sociological research will focus on identity formation of a community's outcasts - those who cannot meet federal and tribal requirements of blood quantum - or those otherwise referred to within Indian country as halfbreeds. Following, this examination will illuminate the traumas experienced within Indian country as the results of colonialism and imperialism and there following their traumatic impacts on identity. The literature review will focus on four primary areas: experiences specific to Native American communities affecting identity formation; processes of identity formation; identity crisis and outcomes and; what our Native communities already offer in terms of healing. The ultimate goal of this examination is to set a foundation for further research that acknowledges that fractured or fluid identities are not the result of "too many choices," but the result of historical traumas and continued subjugation. Whereas this is acknowledged, following research can assist in the decolonization process that reports back to Natives and non-Natives seeking to destabilize the racialization of human beings.

2009 Research

Abstract:Definition Begets Deficiency: A Critical Analysis of the Creation of a Contested Indigenous Identity

Mentor: Todd Hechtman, Ph.D, EWU Sociology and Justice Studies

Contested identities, as well as all identities, are often regulated by naming. Naming is an act of defining, and defining an act of legitimizing or delegitimizing those who find themselves marginalized. To name something is to assert control over the defined space. This paper examines the formulation of identity from a multi-theoretical perspective. It seeks to challenge the dominate discourse that states identity formulation is a linear progression from placeless to placed and that other must be used in the creation of self. Those pushed out into the corridors between regulated spaces such as race, culture, and gender, recognize that those spaces have become policed by both members and structures within and outside of the bordered space. For Indigenous people we have fought for many years to be considered human beings, now we fight to be Indians. Those who do not meet the criteria, whether through concepts such as location, language, blood-quantum, or skin color, are marginalized within the community. Illuminating the identity bound by dominant texts encourages the individual to examine place and self. Identifying self through name or experience or moving identity from static to dynamic still dehumanizes. If identity is reconfigured as a fluid space through the critical and integrated texts- it cannot be tied by static definition or defined experience.



14th Annual EWU Student Research and Creative Works Symposium, May 17-18, 2011

Heritage University Gathering of Scholars, Toppenish, WA, September 21, 2010

19th Annual National McNair Research Conference and Graduate School Fair, Delavan, WI; Nov 5-7, 2010

13th Annual EWU Student Research and Creative Works Symposium: May 19, 2010
18th Annual National McNair Research Conference and Graduate School Fair;Nov. 6-8, 2009
National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, 2009 Pacific NW FocoRegional Conference, October 30, 2009
Heritage University, Toppenish, WA, September 22, 2009

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