Rehabilitation Reservations: Native Narrations of Disability and Community


This essay analyzes disability representations in a handful of late-nineties AIDS-related novels by indigenous people. The focus of my argument is The Kiss of the Fur Queen (1998) by Tomson Highway (Canadian Cree), which follows a young indigenous dancer who dies of AIDS-related illness. I argue that Highway radically resists the imperative toward rehabilitation—a concept that has a corollary in the imperative to "assimilate" Native people by pushing them onto reservations. As a foil I also read two murder mysteries by Carole LaFavor (Ojibwe), an AIDS activist who, despite living with the disease for many years, chooses not represent it directly in her novels. Examining the forces that might enable or disable queer Native critiques of rehabilitation and reservations, I also seek to encourage a broader dialogue between disability studies and Native American studies.

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Disability Studies Quarterly


The Society for Disability Studies

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