While reading Doubleweaving Two- Spirit Critiques: Building Alliances between Native and Queer Studies by Qwo-Li Driskill I learned a lot about not only the things that the Natives went to as straight Natives but also of those whom are “Two-Spirit”. Two-spirit people make the world and conversation not about gender but about the land itself and how connected it is to a person: “This is not an essentialist move but an assertion that Indigenous gene a sexual identities are intimately connected to land, community, and history” (73). That being said the Natives have been and are an apart of the “queer people of color”. However, many times the Native people have been left out of the critiques that these people do. They are largely not part of the studies that are done:
“Native people have largely been left out of these critiques points to major ruptures in queer theories. Not only are Native people and Native resistance movements rarely a subject of analysis, the specific political and historical realties of Native people seem outside queer studies, purview. This means that—at best—analyses of race, nation, diaspora, history, sexuality, and gender are deeply lacking and that—at worst—these critiques risk colluding with master narratives both inside and outside the academy that, as Powell describes, un-see Native people” (75).
Thus, the GLBTQ/Two-Spirit people are not being recognized in the gay community and the studies being done by the critiques. Similarly, the Native people as a whole are not being recognized as they rightfully should be. They are also eliminated from the category “people of color” because they are part of forms of resistance and they belong and always have here in North America. Chrystos writes: “This continent is morally and legally our land, since no treaty has been observed…Logically, then, we remain at war in a unique way—not for a piece of the ‘white pie,’ but because we do not agree that there is a pie at all” (78). This really opened my eyes because, although I know that the Native people deserve to have this land that we live on, I never really thought of it like this. So many white people believe that they own this land and that in order to give someone else this land they must sell it, thus giving someone a “piece of the white man’s pie”. This to me is ridiculous because the white man stole all of this land from the Native people. Another aspect that I found really eye-opening was the part when talking about non-natives telling stories of the Natives. Other people of color are quick to categorize natives too. In doing so they are being just as insensitive as the white euro-Americans. One final line that I found summed up the entire essay and the entire history of the Europeans and the Natives was this: “But in order to have value in the marketplace, the entrepreneurs and multinational developers must find a way to process it, to refine the rich multiplicity of our lives and all we have come to understand about them into high theory by the simple act of removing it, abstracting it beyond recognition, taking out the fiber, boiling it down until the vitality is oxidized away and then marketing it as their own and selling it back to us for more than we can afford” (82). This quote touches on the acts of the European people that came to this land. Taking Native land and farming it, destroying it to nothing until they have no use for it. They then sell it back to the Native, sell the NATIVES land back to them for more money than they can afford…disgusting.
In the first poem Map of the Americas she talks about being on the American soil because so many people died for her to be there. She talks about the effects people have had and how hard it is for her to give them gifts that they take the wrong way:
“It is not without fear and memories awash in blood that I allow you to slip between my borders rest in the warm valleys of my sovereign body offer you feasts and songs dress you in a cloak of peacock feathers and stars. These gifts could be misconstrued as worship. Honor mistaken for surrender” (11).
This section is so powerfully written and tells so much in so little words. The gifts that the Natives gave to the Europeans were taken in the wrong way. They not only took this as a sign that the Natives wanted to worship them but also took it as a sign that they could take them over. This also reminds me of the many Natives who had to adapt and reconcile with the Europeans to survive. If they did not then they wouldn’t survive in the land that was now ultimately run by European whites.
“Doubleweaving” introduced me to a completely new concept of “Two-Spirit” (69). Driskill explains how the term “indicates the presence of both a feminine and a masculine spirit in one person” (72). I take this to mean that the two genders are double woven into a single being like the double weave baskets often made by Native American women. I like how Driskill includes Scott Richard Lyons idea of rhetorical sovereignty to further situate the reader’s understanding of how the term “Two-Spirit” is used within the Native GLBTQ community. My familiarity with Lyons’s piece helps me to better understand how Native Americans are using rhetorical sovereignty to create the term “Two-Spirit” as a broad descriptor of the various sexual orientations amongst the tribal communities. Instead of allowing ‘outsiders’ to label GLBTQ Native Americans, Natives are using their voice to make a term more specific to the needs of Indigenous culture. The author’s argument that “Two-Spirit critiques are part of ongoing weavings to resist colonialism” is very interesting (87). Driskill wants to take back some of what was lost during America’s colonization. He wants a Native voice to be heard within the GLBTQ community and he is actively demanding a place in the organization. A great deal of support comes from being an acknowledged member of a group and Driskill seeks that support on behalf of all GLBTQ people who also happen to be Native American.
Driskill’s poems have a great emotional tone which speaks to the devastating circumstances that the Native people have endured and still to continue to suffer from. “Map of the Americas” starts off on a somber note with the speaker wishing “we could transcend history” (line 2). Reflecting on Native American history is a painful process full of death, war, and tears. It would be so much easier if the speaker could just ignore history and move beyond the defining moments of Native American history. As the speaker gazes at the map, he or she comes to the conclusion that “you are here/ because so many of my people/ are not” (20-22). The “you” is the modern map of the Americas whose creation was made possible only through the systematic attempt of erasing Indigenous peoples from the land which they had populated since the beginning of time. “For Marsha P. (Pay It No Mind!) Johnson” is another interesting poem. The perseverance of lines eight through ten is bold and beautiful. The speakers talks about “be[ing] the one that dangles/ from the side but/ does not let go.” He or she acknowledges the hardships that will befall him or her as the “dangle,” yet he or she will hold on forever no matter the challenge. As the poem progresses, I began to wonder if this poem is discussing suicide particularly of a ‘drag queen’ who could no longer fight against the opposition and decides to jump into the Hudson River to end it all. The description of the clothing with “sequin lace” and “rhinestone beads” along with the terminology “glitters” and “sashay” call to my mind a ‘drag queen’ in gaudy attire (14-15, 27, 29). After reading the poem in its entirety, I went back to the last line in the third stanza, which I noted, and for me this seals the deal by explaining how the police officers saw the deceased as “Just another dead queen” (17). I really like how the speaker defends the deceased with the heartfelt statement that he or she will hold their lost friend in their memory by “Thinking about/ the night/ you did not jump” (39-41). Even though the police suspect the death was a suicide, the speaker rejects this claim and stands up for their beloved friend.
The reading “Doubleweaving Two-Spirit Critiques: Building Alliances between Native and Queer Studies” introduced me to a very interesting concept of “two-spirit”. This is a term used to describe Native GLBTQ people. I found this term very interesting because it seems to embody multiple things. One thing the term embodies is the struggle of a GLBTQ person with their identity and the fact that they may feel as if they have two different spirits. The other is the connection between a native person and the earth. Driskill writes: “Two-spirit is a word that itself is a critique. It is a challenge not only to the field of anthropology…but also to the white-dominated GLBTQ community’s labels and taxonomies. It claims Native traditions as precedents for understanding gender and sexuality” (72-3). This is a very interesting point because it suggests that Two-Spirit is a way in which Native GLBTQ people can define themselves but also a way to understand gender and sexuality issues as a whole. Driskill goes on to say that, “This is not an essentialist move but an assertion that Indigenous gender and sexual identities are intimately connected to land, community, and history” (73). Driskill is trying to get the point across that Native people struggle with gender and sexual identities just as much as white or black people and that more attention needs to be paid to that. In order to fully understand GLBTQ people, all races need to be studied and the Native people have the same issues in the GLBTQ community as any other race. “Doubleweaving” was another interesting term used in the essay because it serves to weave together many different viewpoints in order to create a more rounded critique. Driskill writes: “the weaving process also creates something else: a story much more complex and durable than its original and isolated splints, a story both unique and rooted in an ancient and enduring form” (74). This term can also be seen a way to weave cultures together in a way that is more durable so that they can become one and be fully integrated with one another.
Driskill’s poem “Map of the Americas” was a very powerful one that has many depths to it. The poem encompasses both the Native peoples struggle for land ownership and also a sexual experience. The poem starts off by reminiscing about the past and the destruction of the Indigenous culture and land. Then the poem leads off and the speaker describes their body as in the shape of the Americas and the poem itself even takes shape of the continents. Each part of the body is described as a different part of the landscape and we are taking a journey through the country and body alike. Next the speaker describes very intimate moments in relation to the invasion of the English onto Indian land. The lines that are stood out to me as most powerful are: “When your hands travel/ across my hemispheres/ know these lands/ have been invaded before/ and though I may quiver/ from your touch/ there is still a war” (11). This is very powerful because it both depicts the invasion and betrayal of the English on Indian land while also portraying a very intimate moment. This comparison is a very powerful one and leads in to the final line, “Honor this/ I walk out of genocide to touch you” (11). The speaker wants their lover to honor not only their body but also their heritage and culture. They have survived a horrible genocide and want their survival to be an example of what they once had. I really liked this poem and found that the way in which it was written was very fluid and beautiful and made me want to keep reading.
Prior to reading “Doubleweaving,” I presumed that the article was simply going to be discussing the art of weaving-- which it did, but with an additional topic: queer studies. Qwo-Li Driskill discusses the term “two-spirit,” and explains how the “intentionally complex” (73) expression refers to someone who is both of Native American decent and one who considers themselves to be ‘queer’ (or part of the GLBTQ community). She then goes on to use Cherokee double woven baskets as a parallel with the term two-spirit. Doubleweaving it when two completed baskets (two complete aspects, being indigenous and being queer), are combined into one basket (an individual). “Doublewoven baskets can have two independent designs as a result of the weave, one on the outside and one on the inside” (74).
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Driskill poems. The majority of the poems that I have read throughout my college career focused solely on Americana life or early British society. I also had the opportunity to read some African American poems in one of my classes, but that was about the extent of any poetic diversity that I experienced. That being said, reading these poems was a definite breath of fresh air. “Map of the Americas” was the poem that I enjoyed the most. One of my favorite components was the visual aspect of it, specifically on the second page of the poem. I liked the formatting in that it corresponded with the lines of the poems (i.e. the “hair spread upon the pillow” or the shape of the pyramid. I found “What You Must Do” to be both incredibly graphic and incredibly powerful. Using such strong metaphors to produce such a dark image is ultimately what makes this poem what it is. The dark undertone of the poem is a valid representation of the way that Native Americans would feel on a daily basis; they suffered, and this poem serves as an indirect tool in symbolizing the hardships that the indigenous people went through. “Letter to Tsi-ge’-yu” is also very dark. I thought it was interesting how this particular poem connected both English and Native American within it’s stanzas. However, some poems took a totally different approach. While still continuing to be symbolic, “Grandmother Spider’s Lesson for an Urban Indian Queer” factored in a bit of personification and metaphors. This poem took a more positive stance on life. Instead of instructing younger readers to fear the road ahead and protect themselves while they can, the ‘spider’ preaches how a person is capable of anything they want to be. Though the tones varied, I found all the poems to be very creative and thought-provoking.
It was nice to read the “Driscoll Poems” because I feel that in terms of Literature I have read a lot from whites, African Americans, and people of other cultures, but none written by, or concerning Native Americans. The poem, “Map of the Americas” incorporated the reality of how the Natives experienced many deaths among their people. I like how the author includes many aspects of the land such as borders, rivers, smell of cedar, and of course, America. I found the last line interesting; “Honor mistaken for surrender.” It sounds like the author wanted to clarify that the Natives did not surrender, but made their decision based off of honor. “For Marsha P.” shows the Natives as a people with how the author wrote “the knowing that each death is our own.” This indicates how it takes only one death to affect their people, every person is important. Their strength and bravery is shown in lines 9-11; “I will be the one that dangles from the side but does not let go.” The piece “What You Must Do” was more depressing to read because it mentions how they must give up their flesh because the English wanted to wipe them out and it does not end with any type of closure; instead it ends with “they come for us in the morning.” This displays how they live in fear and must always be aware of their surroundings. What I got from “Letter to Tsi-ge-yu” is the story of what the author or Natives in general experienced and continue to suffer from. Avery vivid image of a violent scene is when the author writes, “We are still trying to escape soldiers, hide our babies, hold on to cods of earth as they drag us away by our feet, screaming and bloodied.” “Grandmother Spider’s Lesson for an Urban Queer” contained a lot of poetic devices such as personification, imagery, and hyperbole. It was an interesting poem with how the writer incorporates the land of Seattle, demonstrating the importance of land and the moral being how life will fall into place, one must “keep weaving.”
“Double Weaving Two-Spirit Critiques” was an informative reading on Native-centered and tribally specific understandings of gender and sexuality, as well as a way to critique colonialism, queer-phobia, racism, and misogyny as decolonial struggles. I liked how Driscoll put the uncertainty of Native history into perspective by asking the reader what land he or she is living on and what Native Nations are present. Sadly, he mentions how most Americans could not answer this. This reading presented a great explanation to the term “Double weave.” The definition in terms of basket-making is when there are two independent designs as a result of the weave, one on the outside and one on the inside” (74). This is suiting for a metaphor because not only can critiques be woven, but as a double weave would present two designs, this can be seen as presenting both queer and Native studies. I also learned how the umbrella term, “Two-Spirit” indicates numerous tribal traditions and social categories of gender outside dominant European binaries. Although it is disappointing, it is not surprising that Natives are not usually mentioned in queer studies unless it is incorporated with “colored” people. In general, there needs to be more information that includes Native Americans because their history or culture is excluded from many things, which is especially apparent since I’ve taken this course. A great quote towards this idea is “Part of the colonial experience for Native people in the United States is that we are constantly disappeared through the stories that non-native people tell or don’t tell about us” (79). Moreover, this was another reading support the fact that we need to know more accurate history of the Native Americans.
When thinking of Native Americans, I have never thought of the diverse community that is included in the Native American people. Just like every country and culture has a diverse group of people, so do the Native Americans. That is why Doubleweaving Two-Spirit Critiques is so important to read because it did make me realize that not only are there Indians, but there are GLBTQ Indians among others as well. The idea of a doubleweave basket makes a lot of sense when comparing it to the Two-Spirit people. Native American GLBTQ people are similar to a doubleweave in that they have two separate spirits that make them who they are as a whole. Just like the basket which has two different baskets entwined into one, each with a different look. Doubleweaving is also similar to the actual study of combining Native American studies with GLBTQ studies to create one study that entails both. The trouble with this study is that Native Americans alone are usually left out of critiques and literature simply because they are a minority. To get literature on GLBTQ Native Americans is an even bigger challenge. However, it is cool that Driskill uses Lyons’ idea of rhetorical sovereignty to solidify how Native American GLBTQ members are taking charge of their sexuality and calling themselves Two-Sprit instead of just the usual American terms like gay or lesbian. One of the differences that the term Two-Spirit made me realize is that Americans use terms to label people based off of who they are attracted to. (Lesbians are girls who like girls.) The Native American community uses the term Two-Spirit to describe the individual. The term Two-Spirit, “indicates the presence of both a feminine and a masculine spirit in one person” (72).
All of the poems by Driskill were very powerful. I really liked the one that created a map of the Americas with words. It almost seemed like where the words were that were describing a landmark or an ancient place, were where they would be found on an actual map. The others could be described as very morbid and almost hopeless, like the speaker was giving up and about to commit suicide. “Run with your words to the top of a cliff./ Let go./ Hurry./ They come for us in the morning” (What you must do 9-12). In another untitled poem, it is evident that the speaker is struggling with the idea of suicide, “Gathered on the bridge/ we resist the water” (9-10). While there are a few poems here that represent hope for Native Americans and Two-Spirit peoples there is a very prevalent theme of loss and despair in the poems.
“Map of the Americas” by Qwo-Li Driskill was moving. It speaks about the struggles Native Americans went through when the colonials’ arrives and all the difficulties they faced after. She writes, “But this land grows volcanic / with the smoldering hum of bones” (5-6). Here she discusses the loss of life. The world is erupting with unfairness and death. So many have perished since settlement and through the fight their basic rights. The Trail of Tears is a perfect example of this: the Native Americans fought for the rights of the land their forefathers had settled on for hundreds of years. While the Supreme Court sided with their argument, President Jackson did not and exiled them to a land they had never seen. On this trip hundreds died for they were unable to stop the eruption of betrayal and the ashy sky clouded the white people from seeing anything but greed. Driskill’s “body curled and asleep / becomes the map of the Americas” (23-24). Although she “my body”, she really means hear people; and not only her tribe. She means all of the tribes who have suffered in the Americas. By “asleep” she means the fight within some Natives has died. They have simply given up on the hope of ever regaining what was lost. Throughout the poem the connects her body to the land: “My chest the plains / and hills of this land My spine / the continental divide” (27-29). The Native Americans have always felt a deep connection with the land. They embrace and see the beauty of the land rather than only the economic profit it can bring. I thought it was interesting how after line 24 when she said her body “becomes the map of the Americas” she makes her words into the form of what the Americas look like. The last line of the poem was really powerful, “I walk out of genocide to touch you”. She is accusing the colonists rightfully of genocide. They killed the tribes physically and attempted to do it emotionally, as well. Driskill refuses to lie down and allow this to happen to her. Instead, she emerges strong through the ash to bring to light the violence that destroyed her people.
In “Doubleweaving Two-Spirit Critiques Building Alliances between Native and Queer Studies”, Qwo-Li Driskill discusses what two- by two-spirit means and what sexuality and gender means from a Native American point of view. Two-spirit “is meant to be an umbrella term for Native GLBTQ people as well as a term for people who use words and concepts from their specific traditions to describe themselves” (72). Driskill then looks at Cherokee doublewoven baskets. Driskill says “Using doubleweave as a metaphor enables me to articulate a methodological approach that draws on and intersects numerous theoretical splints” (74) and makes it easier to explain what two-spirit means.
The article “Doubleweaving Two-Spirit Critiques: Building Alliances between Native and Queer Studies” and the poems in “Walking With Ghosts” by Qwo-Li Driskill were very interesting reads. It is easy to make the connection between the two that it was written by the same person judging by the content of the basket weaving.
In the article on “doublweaving,” we get that beautiful imagery of the basket weaving process where the outside of the basket is different than the pattern on the inside. It helps explain the meanings behind the term “two-spirit.” He says, “Doubling is likewise employed as a Cherokee rhetorical strategy outside basketry, in which two seemingly disparate rhetorical approaches exist concurrently.15” It’s like describing someone that is in the GLBTQ community. If you’re gay, then you are one gender on the outside, but on the inside you like the same gender which isn’t as accepted by society like heterosexuality is. Also, if you’re transgender, then you are one gender on the outside, but on the inside you feel as though you should be the opposite gender which is very much like the whole idea of being two-spirited. The basket weaving concept also carries through some of the poems. In the poem “Grandmother Spider’s Lesson for an Urban Indian Queer” there is weaving taking place (weaving of a web that is). I love the last line, “Cling fast, she tells me. Keep weaving. Life will stick.” She is telling him to continue what he’s doing and pushing on with trying to make things known like the presence of the GLBTQ community of Native people. That someday they will be recognized and it won’t be such a struggle anymore. The double weaving is a means to get the GLBTQ community to recognize the Native struggle is there too. The Native American people want to be known and heard too, they are very much a part of the same movement so they should work together. Qwo-li says, “By doubleweaving splints from queer studies and Native studies, Two-Spirit critiques can aid in the resistance struggles of Native communities and help create theories and movements that are inclusive and responsive to Native Two-Spirit/GLBTQ people.” By working together, it will help both groups. It would greatly help those that are Native Americans that are considered Two-Spirit.
I absolutely loved everything about the poem “Map of the Americas.” Everything from the words, the imagery, and the way the poem takes form is amazing. After the line, “Look: my body curled and asleep/ becomes a map of the Americas” the poem literally takes on the shape of the Americas. This poem does a good job at tearing at the heart strings. The part where it says, “Children who didn’t live/ long enough to cradle a lover/ arms around waist/ lips gently skimming nape/ legs twined together/ like a river cane basket” is so powerful. It reflects on those that died that were too young to have ever had the chance to know what it is to be in love. He also calls them children to further emphasize the youth of the ones that have gone before him.
The poetry found in the reading “Walking with Ghosts” is in fact haunting, one assumes that Ghosts represent the past, further a past that haunts the present usually due to it’s “unfinished business.” The uncanny aspect of a haunting is that it disrupts the linear and Gregorian measurements of time, Ghosts are often the result of such horror that they spend eternity in cycles destined to serve as a reminder of how past trauma still is just as real as it was when it initially occurred. “I wish when we touch/ we could transcend history in/ double helixes of dark and light/ on wings we build ourselves,”(9) the poet’s personification of Native American land in “Map of the Americas” is done so to express the resonation that Qwo-Li Driskill possesses with the rhythm of the land. This relationship Driskill has with the land is symbiotic, “Look: my body curled and asleep/ becomes a map of the Americas,” (9) Driskill shares that the pain and suffering that the earth has seen and bore witness herself this creates unified rendition of her, her people and the land. Each poem in this collection confronts the trauma that affects and haunts the Native American people and has done since the beginning of colonization in America. In “Letter to Tsi-ge’-yu” Driskills use of Native American language concisely displays what she expresses is sacred. “sgilu:gi You are my sister/ gvhwanosda whole,”(35) when reading those words I began to cry; there is one word for “you are my sister” not four, what a beautiful word, I have a sister and she makes me feel whole and to lose her would feel like the end of the world. On a larger perspective the severence of that relationship that Driskill shares with her beloved sister due to such horror and violence is a tragedy in itself, this trauma gets exponentially magnified when considering how many families experienced such tragedy as a result of the genocide. In the poem “For Marsha P. (Pay It No Mind!) Johnson” Driskill extrapolates the relationship between survival and despair, building it into a bridge that is equal parts choice as it is confinement for those who stand on it; one can choose either side (survival or despair) in which case they are still subjected to the confinement of colonizing forces, the other choice is to give up and jump into the water but that is the easy choice and those who resist should be commended.
In the article “Doubleweaving Two-Spirit Critiques: Building Alliances between Native and Queer Studies” Qwo-Li Driskill uses the imagery associated with the sacred and advanced craft of doubleweaving baskets to allude to pursuing the integral relationships necessary to create alliances within the decolonization process. Driskill establishes the commonalities between Native Two-Spirit and queer critiques, “that challenge heteropatriarchal dominance and notions, gender binaries, and the policing and control of sexualized and gendered bodies,” (71) She further delineates the meaning of the term “Two- Spirit” as it was chosen for an intertribal expression of English translation that generalized the wide variety of social categories that are associated with gender unlike the dominant European binary and what it means to be masculine or feminine. Driskill utilizes the complexity in the art of doubleweaving to parallel the intricacies and balance of the duality that is possessed by Two-Spirits, two separate entities with one common structure or body. Driskill also states that “Though intersections do take place in double weaving, the weaving process also creates something else: a story much more complex and durable than it’s original isolated splints, a story both unique and rooted in an ancient and enduring form,” (74) she goes on to weave and conceptualize the alliance between Native and Queer studies as based on levels of productive activism to support their identities.
Qwo-Li Driskill’s, “Doubleweaving Two-Spirit Critiques: Building Alliances Between Native and Queen Studies”, was a very impacting read in the correlation between sexuality and Native belief. “Two-Spirit” is an intertribal term for “presence of both a feminine and a masculine spirit in one person” (72). A part of me almost wishes we used this term instead of defining a sexuality because many people who are classified as GLBTQ feel this way internally. I really found it interesting how Driskill connected “racial resistance against colonialism” and Natives “struggles for land redress, self-determination, healing historical trauma, cultural continuance, and reconciliation” (69) to queer studies. Personally, I am very inspired to always speak up for the rights of GLBTQ because I have a friend in particular who struggled with coming out and accepting who he was as a person. I think the most important part for people to understand is that sexuality, race and gender do not make up the soul of the individual. By understanding this, people would be less judgmental and more accepting of all individuals and cultures. Driskill makes arguments against people who “employ both queerness and race as a tactic to disrupt white supremacist heteronormative strategies that constitute themselves through marginalizing people of color, non-heterosexuals, and people outside rigid gender norms” (75) because it is such a narrow-minded way of thinking. No race, gender or religion should be seen as more “right” or “normal” than another. The fact is that we should accept all individuals for who they are as people because “two-spirit activism works to mend and transform the relationships Native communities have with Two-Spirit and queer people,”(86) while “two-spirit critiques are part of ongoing weavings to resist colonialism” (87).
Driskill’s poems contained similar strives for equality, while incorporating sexuality within his debate. In “Map of the Americas”, the part that stood out to me the most was when he depicted the betrayal of the Europeans on the Indian land by metaphorically comparing it to the tenderness of a human body. He wrote, “when your hands travel/ across my hemispheres/ know these lands/ have been invaded before/ and though I may quiver/ from your touch/ there is still a war” (11). I found this incredibly powerful, because while Europeans may have only seen the land as territory to conquer and control, the Native people saw the land as part of themselves. Native’s felt a deep connection between nature and themselves, so by using a Native body as the hemispheres and areas of the land, a unknown touch to a persons body would be seen as an invasion. When Driskill writes, “I wish when we touch/ we could transcend history,” (9) as the reader I was really affected by this idea. I cannot imagine simply touching another person and by that connection have them be exposed to my entire history, but that must have been what it felt like to the Natives when the Europeans betrayed them and watched them suffer.