CSQ 46-4: We Have Always Been Here: Decolonizing Gender


Celebrating 50 years of promoting and amplifying Indigenous voices! Cultural Survival focuses on Indigenous Peoples in their totality. We understand that colonization has twisted our collective worldview, and as a result, we live today in a world where gender relationships are out of balance. Much of the violence and inequities have been caused by a disruption in the continuity of ancestral values and traditions that held together the
cohesiveness of communities. Indigenous Peoples’ views and understandings of gender are just as diverse as their cultures. However, imposed patriarchy and Christianity vilified Queerness in our communities, making it into a threat to be eradicated. There is also a fundamental difference between Indigenous Peoples’ approaches to issues of gender equity and that of Western societies. While Western societies glorify the individual, Indigenous Peoples prioritize the communal. We believe that within this sense of community, Indigenous Peoples can best develop the tools needed to assert their rights and achieve gender equity.

This issue of the CSQ is dedicated to uplifting our relatives of other genders and
those who identify as non-binary. In many pre-colonial Indigenous societies, there
were multiple recognized genders, and those folks held different revered roles.
Colonialism, Christianity, and the patriarchy forced many of these identities into hiding.
We share with you a few stories of decolonization from the viewpoints of some who
are unearthing some of this buried or interrupted knowledge, how they are reclaiming
and finding meaning in those identities, and the challenges they are facing.

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Cover image: "Nafea e te Fa'aipoipo? When Will You Marry? (after Gauguin)", 2020, by Yuki Kihara (Samoan-Japanese). C-print mounted behind acrylic glass. Art piece part of Kihara's "Paradise Camp" 59th Venice Biennale exhibit.

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