Doomed to be Barren: Sexual Violence and Sterilization of American Indian Women in the United States

Kelli McCarty, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Thesis/Project Completion Date

May, 2011

Committee Chair

Kathleen A. Brown-Perez, UMass Amherst -

Abstract

This paper examines the ways in which the United States has perpetuated and exacted structural, cultural, and direct violence against American Indian women in order to rid itself of the "Indian problem" - the problem that this ethnic group still exists today. Because warfare, disease, famine, relocation, and blood quantum have not yet eradicated American Indians from this country, the United States government has resorted to directly and indirectly affecting the reproductive abilities of American Indian women. From the legislature that has been passed legalizing sterilization to the lack of preventative measures needed to protect American Indian fertility, the United States has essentially reinforced structural, cultural, and direct violence against this ethnic group. As a result of the United States' racists motives, this small group of people has suffered and endured domestic violence, coerced sterilization, STD sterilization, birth control sterilization, and even environmental sterilization and continues to do so today. By attacking the female reproductive organs of American Indians, the United States is discretely and indiscreetly promoting a eugenics policy that will ultimately have an unimaginable effect on this group's already dwindling population. This paper will argue that, although there are no obvious, outward occurrences of violence at this time, structural and cultural violence are just as damaging to American Indians. By the United States assaulting American Indians' ability to procreate and continue their "race" through sterilization and other types of sexual violence, it is in fact committing an act of genocide.

 

Recommended Citation

McCarty, Kelli, "Doomed to be Barren: Sexual Violence and Sterilization of American Indian Women in the United States" (2011). Commonwealth Honors College Theses and Projects. Paper 3.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/chc_theses/3

 

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