Possessive Investment: Indian Removals and the Affective Entitlements of Whiteness
American Quarterly 66, No. 4, 2014
8 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2014
In 2013 the US Supreme Court effectively granted custody of an almost four-year-old child to adoptive white parents over the opposition of her Cherokee birth father and the Cherokee Nation in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (the “Baby Veronica” case). This essay examines the Court ruling, and the protracted custody and jurisdictional struggles in its wake, in order to show how whiteness in the US has been historically constituted not only as a form of property but also as the capacity to possess. Against the perspective that colonialism persists in the US only insofar as indigeneity remains legible as racial difference, this essay focuses on how Adoptive Couple served as a means of reasserting white heteronormative rights to possess and to deny culpability for the ongoing conditions and consequences of colonization and multiple forms of racial violence in the present.
Keywords: Colonialism, Whiteness, Native American Studies, Critical Indigenous Studies, Critical Race Theory, Race & racism
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