Join us for a second discussion with Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Dr. Kim Tallbear on All My Relations. We'll explore Kim's “life project” of critical polyamory, her journey through feminism, her processes of writing in, with, and for community, and Kim treats us with some of her poetry, the “Critical polyamorist 100s”.
AMR so far has explored our relationships between community, land, food, and kin. Now we have a chance to dive into what it means to be in good relation with other humans (on a sexual and non sexual level), while maintaining and balancing our responsibilities to our other relations, and questioning a hierarchy that places human relations first. Kim is never “single,” she is always in committed relationships with human and non-human relations.
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I'm just can't get behind monogamy. It's subtler. Imposed. Yeah. You know, until you are, are you had, until you have worked hard for your monogamy in a non monogamous society, don't tell me it was your choice. You know, cause you have to work really, really hard to, to be nonmonogamous in an, in an open and, and you know, monogamous are way more comfortable with cheating than they are with this way more calm. They'd rather do that.Speaker 2:
Oh, my relationship.Speaker 2:
Hi, I'm a tikka. I belonged to this witness. And so I let people, I'm a photographer and the creative project, five, six two. And I'm Adrian. I'm a citizen of the Cherokee nation, a scholar and the writer behind the blog, native appropriations. Well, welcome back to all my relations with Dr. Kim tall bear. We're going to take a moment to do some heart talk, heart to heart, talk to Andy. And so, you know, we, uh, I, I don't wanna speak for agent, but I have been so inspired by your work, both by your blog and buy your book and just the fact that you are a writer. Um, it because I, I'm a writer, I don't actually often say that, but I write quite a bit anyways. How do you do it? How do you find the space, the time? What is your practice like? What do you sit down and there's a,Speaker 1:
you know, like a blank page before you do you write with a pen and paper? How do you do it? You know, it's really funny. I actually do a lot of drafting of my initial field field notes on social media. So when people say blogs or social media or a waste of time, I've heard prominent native writers say that not if you know how to do it correctly. So I, you know, my 47 tweet, uh, um, analysis of what was wrong with Elizabeth Warren that I did in 2016, you know, that that's an analysis that I've been able to send to it. Got a wake lit, wake glutted so that, that was a really important analysis that's been quoted a lot in the media. And I will, if I, as I go back and revise a paper where I should put the Elizabeth Warren Casey and I will just go back to the tweets and construct the next couple of pages from that. So that's really useful. Um, so yeah, I usually, if I, if I come home and I have ideas burning in my head, I will more often than not, uh, do some social media posts or I will write a draft of a blog and there are in fact part of my native American DNA book. There are a couple pieces of different chapters that did start out as blogs blog posts because it's a great way to, I like immediate gratification, right? And you get it out there right away and then, and then you get conversation. So my blog posts stimulate conversation and that conversation informs, it's almost like field data looping back into my initial field notes, which I put on, on social media. And then it, it results in this more robust kind of analysis that goes into the published documents. So that's the way that I write. And with my, um, polyamory stuff. Yeah, there's a blog and then there's my critical, uh, polyamorous one hundreds which are kind of fictionalized but more like creative nonfiction kind of poetic type things. Um, those were probably more standard. I was part of a virtual writing groups, seven women, and this is the way the hundreds practice works. You each take a day of the week and it's your day to circulate your hundred among the other six women and you have to in some way link up to the hundred of the previous day. And so that really helped me start writing the critical polyamorous one hundreds but then I kind of fell out of that group and my writing practice has fallen off around those. So you find it's easier with creative writing to be accountable to a group or to have that sort of group dynamic? Definitely with the hundreds it really helped because it was Saturday morning was my morning, you know, and I had to get it done. It was not cool to not take your turn. Yeah. They really, that that was not being a good citizen and they would put up with it a little bit. But once you start to miss too many, the group kind of falls apart. Other people then start to miss too many. So yeah. But that's the only time I've ever really used a writing group. Other than that, my writing group is me posting something and getting feedback and having a conversation. So that is a form of a writing group that actually is very validating for me because that is really what I do. And it's never actually been something that has really validated by academia at the fact that most of my thinking is done in a very public way on Twitter or my blog, which is a feminist thing to do. So I remember when I was in graduate school, some of the faculty saying, don't be prematurely professionalized. Yeah, well, I got a job because I had academic articles. So I don't advise students like that the world is changing. I also think it's a feminist thing. You know, my 2002 article in which houses all review, which was the first thing I ever wrote on Dna testing that gets cited all the time. Do I agree with everything in that? Uh, no. My thinking has evolved quite a bit since 2002, but I am not embarrassed that I said things in there that I would say in a different way now because that is what it is to be a good feminist. You think out loud, you share your ideas, you acknowledge that, hey, I got feedback and I learned something more and I have now arrived at this place. You know, it's a, I think it's a good demonstration of um, having situated knowledges and, and partial, a partial take on things. So yeah, I don't think that's embarrassing. Now I've had other academics say, well Cam, you've gotten away with it because maybe there haven't been a lot of people riding on one. You've been writing on a, but that might not be the best advice to give to everybody. But I just, to me it feels like a really ethical thing to do. And I don't mind being partly wrong about something. I don't put something out there that's just the first thing off the top of my head. But because, because it elicits feedback and I learned more and I learned in conversation and we want to learn in conversation. That's I think the right way to learn. I talk about it as consenting to learn in public. That's the phrase that a friend use to describe my blog right at the beginning of it. Because when I first started, I had no idea what I was talking about. So it was a lot of messing up and apologizing and reframing. And so now I think about that like with this podcast too, and with everything that we're doing is really this process of just saying like, yeah, we're learning and we're, we have ideas right now. And they might change if folks give us feedback if we learn more. Um, but I've never really thought about it as a feminist sort of framing. And I think that makes a lot of sense too. Yeah. I mean, it's dismantling hierarchies and knowledge production. Right. And I, I talk a lot about, um, that my formative theorists, I, there's a talk I give her, my formative theorists. My mom is in the center and there's some American Indian movement icons. There's Vine Deloria junior and then there's the sort of community, the native community, that activist and educator community that my mom was a part of in the twin cities in the 1970s. They, you know, they founded red school, House and heart of the earth. These are my formative theorist. This is where I learned that research is for social change. This is where I actually learned about standpoint. I just didn't call it standpoint until I got to graduate school. And then my second order theorists are all my academic advisors and influences. So people in community do theory, they do deep analyses and um, we are able to be informed in real time by their thinking when we are publicly blogging or writing or, or posting analyses of things to social media. So it's not a waste of time at all in my mind. And where do you find the courage? Do you ever struggle with finding the courage to hit post? Do I do, I mean, I've written hundreds of things that I haven't done. Yeah. Um, I, I swear a lot in real life. I try not to swear too much. I don't swear at all. On Twitter. I will usually use like Stfu, but I would never say the f word on Twitter. Um, I don't name call usually. I mean I've called Trump an idiot, but you know, um, and I'm, yeah, I know that's ablest but I would never, yeah. Anyway. Um, so I have a couple of rules, but I think fee, I think the, not name calling is, is important, but rather pointing out the, the problems and people's logic or reasoning and I, and I, the older I get, the more relentless I am about that. And the older I get, the more relentless I am in asserting my own expertise. And I will not be bullied or condescended to by people who have not been thinking about the particular issues I've been thinking about for as long as I have. And, and how many people have been looking at the intersections of DNA and in an indigenous citizenship in the US? You know, how many people have really been thinking about that and the way that I have. So no, mostly I, it's not hard for me to find the courage. Um, I listened when it's a topic I don't know as much about. So yeah, I don't post on stuff. I don't know a lot about, you know, I was raised that you listened to people who know more on what they know more about. Right. Um, yeah, I had people getting in my mentions about, uh, oh, I know what it was or, and Maxwell thing on MSNBC. I was getting after her for her misunderstanding of, uh, of the depth of black native relations. Right. And as you say, weaponizing it. But then some, there were some black people on Twitter who got into my mentions and said, well, cause I said, oh, I was acknowledging there's, there's, um, anti blackness and indigenous communities, but there's also an erasing of settler colonial complicity in, in nonindigenous people of color communities. And there's, so then there were some black Twitter people who started having a debate about, well, people that are black people can be anti black. I'm like, that's not my fight. I'm going to sit here and listen to you and learn. But I'm certainly not going to get into that. I have nothing to say about that. Right. So you have to learn when you should just close your mouth and listen. And that would be misplaced courage to, to open your mouth when it's not your place. But I do open it when it's my place. And I would like to, in a second ago you were talking about feminism and it's a thread that runs through your work and as a framework that you use in your writing as well on your research. And I was wondering if you could talk about your relationship to feminism and the ways that you think about it as an indigenous woman versus kind of mainstream conceptions of feminism. Yeah. I've given this talk before alongside some other indigenous feminist. I didn't come to feminism through what I think is a more standard route and the academy, which is indigenous women, get engaging with women of color feminism, uh, and then figuring out what of that applied for indigenous life and what didn't. For me, I came to feminism through feminist science studies and um, so, so I would not have considered myself a feminist before I was in graduate school. No, certainly I act like one I guess. Um, but when I realized that feminist and Queer folks and, and to say disability studies scholars had the same critiques of the hierarchies and science and the way that their bodies have been fetishized, focused on considered deviant and relationship to the straight white able bodied male norm. Right. I realized that we needed to be at the same conversational table and a feminist science studies and queer science studies has really, really, uh, Ben Generative for my thinking around indigenous science study. So that's how I come to feminism. Uh, and when I first heard about feminist standpoint and situated knowledges, that really resonated that language from Sandra Harding and Donna Haraway really resonated with things my mother taught me implicitly about telling stories as a Dakota person from out of our own lives, even though my mom would never have use language like that. Well, let's talk about family. Your mother, and you're also a fulltime scholar and writer. How do you find the time to, like, what are the mechanics of being so productive? Well, I, yeah, you never feel like you're productive enough, right? Because you have to sleep. My, my greatest fantasy is that I don't ever have to sleep. I know that's sad when I'm with you on. I could work all the time that I know of all night long because I love what I do. Well, you know, so I tell my Grad students this too. I, um, my, my coparent is the primary caretaker. I had zero biological urge to reproduce. Um, but I ended up with a person who is like totally baby hungry. I don't, I don't get people like that. Like I got to have a baby, you know, but I had the uterus. Right? And so finally I agreed, but we had a hard negotiation. I was like, I will never do more than 40% of childcare. You will change all the diapers when you're there. Uh, you know, I, I had a lot of in my career comes first and I'm never ever pulling back on that to stay home and clean, dirty diapers. And he's like, whatever, whatever, just give me the baby, you know, so, and he's, and he's just like, you know, that of the year. So that's how I do it. And, uh, but we also, you know, our daughter, she grew up are around the table with PhDs having these kinds of conversations. We don't separate that. We don't have child and adult space, you know, she's part of our world. She's a human who gets to go where we go. And not always to her liking. You know, she spent a lot of, she goes with her dad to community meetings and protests and she's had to come to class with me and cast to go to class with him. And on the whole, I think it's made her a real, um, have a Rick great love for intellectual. And I also only had one, you know, when I tell my, my, I tell my students, it's usually women students cause they're the ones who feel pressured to be like, you know, great, uh, academic and a great mom and they have to have a clean house and they've got to be a workout queen. And, you know, I'm like, you can, there's only so much you can do. You can't do everything. So you better be, you know, if you want all these babies and you want an academic career, you better have a partner who's going to pull their weight or more than their weight. Do not be idealistic and read Cosmo and think you can have it all cause you can't, there's only so many hours in the day. So I'm, I'm real with them. I know a lot of like men, faculty can't be that way with their women students. And it is women that come to you and have you feel these pressures. Right? So, so you have this other world outside of the DNA world with your blog, critical polyamorous. And um, I was wondering if you could tell us about the kind of genesis of that and how you define this world of critical polyamory. Um, the blog. Well, so I started, um, very pointedly deciding I was going to pursue polyamory as a life project in the fall of 2012 and I officially started in January of 2013. I like pursue everything like a research project because I'm so intellectually critical about it because I was very critical of the way that settlers do polyamory right away. When I got involved in the polyamory community in Austin, I could see, oh, this is just more white people stuff. Right? So, but in order for me to really embrace it as a life project, I had to make it an intellectual project cause I don't have time to have hobbies. I don't have hobbies. If I'm going to do something, it's gotta become part of my work so I can write about it. Right. Okay. And so, and then the blog again, was a way for me to think out loud, write and think and process. And I, of course, it's done some study of critical race theory and that's all I mean by critical polyamory that I am doing polyamory within a view where I'm being critical of the broader settler colonial structure in racialized structures. And so that's what I'm attuned to and polyamory. And right away, I could see when I was going to polyamory meetups and I started dating people who identified as ethically nonmonogamous, they were doing this in a way that was not very conscious of the role of settler colonialism in the origins of compulsory monogamy in the United States and in Canada. Um, they really, they're, they vaguely think, most polyamorous think, oh, it's religion, but again, religion this state. Yep. And, um, science all work together and they work together in the world of ethical non-monogamy as well, actually. In terms of various forms of oppression or, or kind of being freed from that, can I ask you to define what you mean when you say compulsory monogamy? Oh, well, just the idea that, um, that is the normative standard to which we all aspire. So there's that and a kind of informal way. Like that's, that's what the fact that we have to call it ethical non-monogamy. Why don't we have to call it ethical monogamy instead? Right. So there's that. Uh, but there's also the way in which it's been imposed lages legislatively in the u s and Canada. So, for example, in relationship to native people, you know, we talk about the Dawes Act, we talk about the breakup of the collective tribal land base into individual allotments. We talk about the role of blood talk in that monogamy was just a central, the imposition of state sanction. Marriage was just a central, you get 160 acres if you're head of household, but you get 80 for your wife and you get 40 for each kid. So there's a real incentive there to be married into biologically reproduced. And by the way, the woman didn't get to be head of household. She got tied economically to the man, you know, and her children got tied effectively rendering her and her children as property of the man just like the land was. So monogamy central to this, and you see in there are there are feminist historians of course, of marriage and monogamy in the u s and Canada who show that it wasn't also only indigenous people, but people coming from other parts of the world who had nonmonogamous traditions. You cannot be a good, legitimate, upstanding moral citizen unless you're monogamous. That is the law, right? Big of me as a crime, you know, polyamory just now got officially legalized in Canada really recently. And then many of the polyamorous, we're really careful to say, yeah, but we're not doing polygamy. This is different, you know, so there's still a way in which like nonmonogamous societies and marriage practices are, are viewed as, and this happened with sexologists at the turn of the 20th century, viewed as less evolved, viewed as more primitive, right? Less civilized. So monogamy is a sign of the, the, the racially evolved, um, civilized citizen and subject. So it's, you know, it's like I remember I was telling you off air rights, I meet, um, more than a few indigenous men who feel that they cannot really engage in a open non monogamy because they are really, really afraid of being stigmatized. And you know, they just can't be viewed that way. It can be viewed as, as it's, it's a stigma. So I'm just going to be frank and ask you to help me to understand how this, how this plays out. Because we were talking about this last night and we were talking about his polyamory and just having sex with different, multiple different partners. It's like, well, can we ever really just have sex? No, because we're always in some way and love because I think like sex is, there's no way to do sex without some form of love. And so how do you be in love with more than one partner and have space for that and given for me, when I think about I can't, I'm so, it's so hard for me just to be an Auntie and a sister and a daughter and then somebody love. It's like those, it's hard for me just to maintain those relationships and then also to have a relationship with land and make time and space to go pray and make time and space to participate in the, all of the things that I'm trying to do professionally. That's a lot too. And so how do you, how does that play out? What does that, how is that defined for you? Well, I think what you just described in terms of your relational multiplicity, um, is my view of what I would like to see. Polyamory is just a temporary language choice, a temporary stopover place. While I think we figure out how to develop language and we already have language, I think in our indigenous ontologies that help us think about being, being in multiple good relations, right? So that's more what I would like to get to. That's not what the mainstream polyamory movement is about. It's about the things you said you're worried about. A lot of their conversations in my mind are quite shallow. How do I Google calendar my life? You know, how do I manage the hierarchy between my primary partner in my secondary partner? How do I open up my marriage and managed jealousy? This is what, like 95% of the conversations are at the meetups and the books, you know, managing jealousy, having compersion instead of jealousy, which is the opposite of jealousy. So how do I have joy for my partner's joy? Um, yes, those things are difficult. You know, I can attest to that, but that is not even the beginning of the struggle that we're facing, right? It's really how to get back into being in good relation in ways where we're not trying to own each other's bodies, desires and we're not trying to own the land and we're not trying to own other nonhuman organisms. Um, those are the kinds of questions that most polyamorous wouldn't even think are related to their polyamory. And so when I got into that community, those were right away the kinds of things you're asking about. How do I have time for all of this? Um, you're already in a sense engaging in these kind of multiple relations, right? And I think if we do fetishize sex and we get away from sex as an object, and I can say more about that in a minute, we, that will enable us to, to, to acknowledge that we're already in multiple kinds of relations. We have multiple responsibilities. And by the way, that can carry over or loop back into what we would now call our sex life or our love life. I should also say there are asexual polyamorists asexual people have taught me a lot and why should they even have to identify as a sexual way? Because you're categorizing sex into genitalia probably at that point. Right? So that's what I mean about objectifying sex. So why do they have to out themselves as asexual? Why can't they just say I'm in multiple loving relationships or I'm in one loving relationship. Why do we have to focus on what kind of sex they have? We also have a romantic polyamorous, so people who are in multiple relations don't necessarily feel or want romantic love. So there are many different people, indigenous and non indigenous that are gay engaged in all kinds of relations with other people and with non humans. But they are compelled in a settler society to categorize themselves as monogamous, as straight as queer as this as that, you know there's all these silos and categories and that are anti relational. If we are really thinking about being in good relation that will actually deemphasize our need to categorize ourselves like we do and like settlers tell us we have to do so they can manage us. Hmm.Speaker 2:
Yeah. I feel like a powwow emcee, but yeah, what you're talking about is that, that's what I'm talking about, but that's not what most polyamorous think about it. And so, yeah, because when I think of the stereotype of a polyamorous, I think of like a millennial that just wants to date multiple people on Tinder and all of them. Yeah. And you know, like, and not like make, not necessarily like be in like the loving,Speaker 1:
uh, deep kinship.Speaker 2:
Like, like in my family, I got you. But just like, I want to have like really basic like, um, sex with you and I want to like, like, you know, on your face, like, I don't know, like I imagine, you know, like a polyamorous, like millennial. Yeah. Well knowing that's just like way out there. But no, there,Speaker 1:
there, I mean, there's good reasons for some stereotypes, but this is a big conversation in polyamory communities, right. They're constantly pushing back against the, um, the sort of way in which they're viewed is overly sexualized. Right? And, and they're, you know, you don't have to be dating anybody to be polyamorous, right? Just like you don't have to be dating anybody to identify as a monogamous person. So I'm polyamorous people date one or zero people at one point writer with that. It's really being open. Um, and but yeah, they spend a lot of time saying this isn't just about the sex, this isn't just about the sex. And of course there are people who call themselves polyamorous temporarily while they are doing that thing. Right. Who really misuse the word according to the way a lot of polyamorous would want it to be used. So you, this is an active debate in the communities and so you said it was for you when you began your research and then you decide to action. You're actually community based, right?Speaker 2:
An insider researcher. I love that frame. So what does that look like? What does that look like? Is that,Speaker 1:
um, it's really interesting. This is why I started doing the creative nonfiction writing cause I can't IRB this, right? It's not a real research project, but you don't go into a new life project as an ethnographer and just turn off your ethnographic mind. I can't do it. You know, when I'm in a new relationship, when I'm in a new polyamorous meetup, I'm always thinking like an ethnography, but I don't go home and write up field notes and then you know, code them and take everybody's identity off. I just kind of let this stuff mixed up in my head and I write my blogs and my critical poly one hundreds. Um, I have been, uh, criticized by as far as I know a couple of white feminists who thought what I was doing was unethical. Um, and that's when I put up the tab on my page, what my process looks like and that it's, it is, I run everything I write, run that I write about somebody, even if it's like I'm recombining identities and genders and places I run it past the person or persons that are informing that piece of writing to make sure it's okay. And they feel like they're sufficiently anonymised and I've never had anybody say no except one person that I'm seeing now who said, no, I don't want you to ever write about me. And of course I would never. Of course not. Even though nobody would ever know who it was, it would be so fun, but I wouldn't still wouldn't do it. They would know.Speaker 4:
Funding for this season of the all my relations podcasts comes from the emergent fund and the women's donor network. We'd like to thank the Tacoma Art Museum for all of their support as well as our new patrons on Patriot. If you'd like to support the editing costs for our future episodes, you can send us a donation on paypal or become a monthly contributor on Patrion. Both links are on our web page, which is all my relations, podcast.com. We also set it up now on our website to have this really cool little widget where you can send us a voicemail from your computer, which is super cool and we're really interested in hearing your thoughts and responses to the podcast or any questions that you might have. So the widget is on the contact us page of all my relations, podcasts.com. Leave us a message. Old School.Speaker 1:
You've talked about these hundreds that you write as a space of sort of creative nonfiction, um, as a different form of writing as a way to process some of the thoughts that you're having through your blog. And we would love to hear a couple of them and maybe your thoughts behind some of them as well. Okay. So the two that were chosen for me to read are actually getting at that line. I'm trying to blur ultimately between human and nonhuman relations, right? In the fact that I don't want a human nonhuman hierarchy there. I want us to think about being in good relation, whether we're doing that through intimate human relationships that involves sex and not all of them do, or whether we're doing that through intimate relationships with place or with non humans. And so the first one is called Riverside. Um, dated December 13th, 2015.Speaker 6:
So far a soft winter. Snow skies are purple. Pink. I am half year. How long does it take a soul to find the body when the body went thousands of miles away? I ached for that south place for soil like a mouth inside the city smelled like an equator country. I fantasize of sultry air, tumbling, oversize. My skirt pulled up. I left little lime popsicle lizard who lodged in a spindle. He to plant hanging under skies were a million bats fly. I had music and lovers, but long was that land emptied of all the relations I need. And the next one is north prairie city, uh, dated December 4th, 2015. It is technically my ethic to share. I told him upon hearing that women flood his world, his inbox, blind date offers goddess is emerging from his past and the woodwork. He replied, I don't want to be shared right now. I do cherish days carved from our many relations of love from Deere, edgy children from big brains companions, our sustenance. Those we think laugh round, dance skin, elk, right with we traverse prairie high ways. Prairie skies the heart of our world. I already share him, but I know what he means here. This though I will not own him.Speaker 7:
I love you.Speaker 1:
I mean your voice. That's an entirely different level to the experience. Yeah. If I was on stage and could move around, yeah, it'd be better. But it's hard to sit down and [inaudible] so beautiful. I love that so much. I, what were you going through in your own life as you were writing that? Well, the Riverside, the first one is about, um, moving to Edmonton from Austin and I really, really love so much about Austin, Texas. Um, but there's just not enough indigenous community there and I just can't be erased anymore, you know? And in the cosmopolitan us away from really a few urban native communities and reservations, you're just erased. And it regrew intolerably painful for me. Um, but I, I missed it. You know, I miss the smells. I miss the, I lived in Indonesia as well in Austin can be quite tropical sometimes. I miss the lushness of it. Um, so that's really all that was about and, and readjusting to being in this really kind of, you know, Arctic climate in the wintertime. Right. Which I really love too, because that's also part of where I'm, where I'm from on the northern prairies and then the second one.Speaker 6:
North prairie city. Yeah. That's about, um, what was I thinking when that was happening? Yeah, that, that's interesting. That one is about, um, being in a relationship with somebody who is a great thing. We think together. I mean a great, really great intellectual that I love to think with more than anything. Um, but a person who was not pursuing a open non monogamy and the way that I was and was really thinking about whether that was possible or not. Um, so really, I don't know, that seems like a very unpr found but nice little piece. I mean I like it. It's, it's pretty, but there's really nothing going on there more than what it is not what then what's on the surface I think. Do you, do you, can you talk a little bit last night how you were talking about at the table? Um, you are seeing that we maybe pre contact had different ways of practicing, um, non monogamy or non monogamy. Yo, so one of the things I think we have to, when we talk about our ancestors, practices import all of these really inappropriate terms from now. So you know, when we're, when we want to talk about them being nonmonogamous are monogamous, if we want to talk about them being queer or straight, they weren't any of those things, you know, those were not the words they use for themselves. Those were not the categories according to which they lived life. They had their own categories, right? And their own worlds that came out of their own people, specific worldviews. And because of colonization and because of the way that I think are quote unquote sexualities, I don't even like that term were eliminated much of the time from the historical record. We don't necessarily have access to all of the on the ground practices in which our ancestors engaged. And even if we had that knowledge, it wouldn't be that we could necessarily replicate them in a structurally very different world. But I do look for, uh, the traces are the stories that are there about how they did live outside of the structures that we now take for granted. You know, and so I look at the historical record where I can, and we do have some things right. And we do have some stuff in the anthropological record is problematic as problematic is that is too. So I would like us to sort of, um, I guess what I advocate is that we take, uh, the fundamental ethical frameworks of our ancestors that we have retained. One of which I think is this notion of being in good relation and we figure out how, how do we think through that in relationship to our, to our intimate relationships too. So for me, being in good relation and looking at the way that my ancestor shared resources, the way that they shared child care, the way that say, um, somebody would take on a extra wives, you know, if they needed to be taken into a family, we don't know if they had sex or not. And it's not our business. Right. You know, marriages and have to only be, in fact, we know by most longterm marriages they're pretty sexless marriage and sex do not go together for very long. So who cares? It's about taking care of family. Right? Right. It's about taking care of each other. I think I would like, I do think there was less kind of ownership of the individual body. I think there, cause there was less ownership, you know, the ownership of women and children is tied to the ownership of private property. You know, in an, in an a culture. Without that, we can imagine really different ways of relating intimately that don't involve such ownership. I will not own my lovers. I refuse. It is not my business who they look at and who they like and who they desire. Really. It's about, uh, what have we agreed to and how are we treating one another? You know, and I just, I can't, I can't get on board with that anymore and I don't want to monitor people. I remember what your original question is, but, um, I find these kind of exercising territoriality over land and over somebody else's body and desire. I just find that immoral and I will not do it. And I don't see, I don't see that there's really, I don't know that there's a precedence for that in our, in, in our ancestors ways of being. I just don't see it. If I look at their, their fundamental fundamental ways of trying to think about being in relation and I would view a contemporary sexual relationship. I would like to articulate it with that idea as much as possible, not with ownership ideas. I'm super curious what you think of Esther prls work. Do I just read, um, the state of affairs, her book on, I have to say I'm, I'm about to, I've been wanting to write this paper for a while and this is one, oh, this goes to your earlier question. I was afraid to write this paper publicly. Um, I feel like women would come after me more than anybody. I want to write a defense of adultery. I don't like the word adultery. I don't like the word cheating. I am about anything that undermines settler, marriage and monogamy. I really think we have to undermine it. I think, I just think it's, it's, um, it, it really, really needs to be troubled. Now. Her book, uh, the state of affairs is really kind of a therapist's view of how to recuperate and marriage quite often. So I would leave off from that. But I think that cheating quote unquote is not the problem, but it's a symptom of the real problem, which is compulsory monogamy. You know, compulsory monogamy doesn't work for whole lot of people. And unlike me, and it was still devastating to a separate from my marriage. It's devastating. It's been economically, emotionally devastating. Um, W we, we have good relations, right? We're still good friends and we co parent well together, but it's, it's been awful. I do not blame people who, who do not have the privilege of leaving. Um, what he and, and I think Dan savage, I heard that says this too, right? What do you say you're going to wreck your entire family, you know, and in order to, because you feel that you need, I mean he says because you need to have sex with multiple people. For me it was different. It was actually the, the structure of settler marriage was I felt like I couldn't breathe. Is it, would you say it was like the loneliness of living in, in like a single family household or it was, no, cause I'm actually kind of a loner. Like, I like my space and I like order it was having to press and I didn't know this at the time when I, when I asked a separate from my then husband, I did not know what was going on with me. I, well I did in part, I guess I'll just be open cause I think you've been honest about this on my blog. I thought he wasn't quote unquote the one I no longer believe in the one. I believe there are multiple ones for us that fulfill multiple partial needs. Right? Yeah. Um, and so this whole, to me, the idea of believing in the wine is like believing in the second coming of Jesus. Like I know it's going to happen, but I'll never see it. Right. I just don't believe. Um, no. I, I left, I left for that reason, but I came over the course of my critical polyamorous blog and all the analysis I do in there. I understand now that it was something else. It was the structure of heteronormative couple centric marriage. It was having to present in public as this normative couple. Uh, I don't want to play mom. I don't want to be a soccer mom. I don't want to have to go hang out with other middleclass couples and talk about what their kids are doing in school and what their summer camp plans are. And I just, I am so bored. I want to scream when people do stuff like that. You know, I want to talk about ideas and I don't want to hang out in kids spaces. You know, my child comes into into the rest of the world with me. I'm not about segregating children from adults and too much of that kind of class nuclear family world. It's just culturally alienating to me. And then I found, you know, so I really do. I, even though I identified as pretty heterosexual for most of my life and I know I moved through the world with a lot of straight privilege. I'm much more comfortable with Queer folks, just much more comfortable. Straight people bore the crap out of me. Like they're so boring, they're so conformist and they just buy the script for the most part. You know, when I was doing that same thing and it was making me miserable. So that's really what it was. And, and polyamory for me was a, it was kind of a gateway to get back to thinking about, well, that doesn't work for me. What doesn't work for me about it? I grew up in an extended family where couples didn't get any play. You know, it doesn't matter if somebody who was divorced or did never got married in the first place, you know, it was aunties and uncles and grandparents. My great grandmother was the matriarch, you know, didn't, the couple didn't matter, you know, you didn't get any extra points for that or maybe you did, but it didn't really matter. You know, I don't like this fetishization of the couple and how they're the anchor of the western nuclear family. And then the couple dissolves and everything goes to hell. That's not a very sustainable family mode mode of being right. Extended families much better because there's somebody in crisis over here. You've got other people kind of picking it up. Right. You know, we don't need to be giving the couple, all the credit that it gets. It's just dysfunctional.Speaker 2:
Right. Which is why that indigenous worldview, like you give your kids to your grandparents and the parents, grandparents, at least the first born. Yeah. You know, here are all of the first born went to the Kia, you know, the maternal grandmother. Yeah. And um, and then aunties and uncles are like your other parents and you respect them that way. And they take on that role. And I've heard from some in the longhouses societies that it w they really weren't sure who the father was because it, they, the father didn't maintain that sort of relationship because all of his brothers had the same thing. So the child wouldn't be like, oh, that's my biological father and these are my other fathers. You know, it just didn't have that definition. I don't know if that's true throughout Indian country. And I've done quite a bit of about this. I don't know if you know, I've been traveling all over Indian country for the last six years. So I've been to like 400 tribal communities and I'm photographing all the tribes stuff. And so that's why I say that. And, and so I have asked almost each one of my participants whether or not, um, you know, like what traditional marriage looks like in their communities and whether or not anybody is practicing that. And I really only think I've had about maybe a dozen people say, this is what it looked like. And these are the people that are practicing it. It's, it's very far and we're very far removed from, from a relationship that, that mirrors the relationships that our ancestors had. Yeah. Yeah. And I've only been in my lifetime too for traditional marriages. And one was in Navajo country, one was in a Oneida in Wisconsin. I went to another one in Onondaga and one up in Canada. But, you know, like that's to say I've been to way more white wedding dress weddings in my lifetime, and I think that that matters. And so I'm really appreciative of you having this conversation out loud. It's so cool. Yeah.Speaker 1:
Yeah. No, I, you know, it's been really hard, but you know, I now it's for me, understanding makes all the difference in the world. Um, and I can't be ha, I can't be happy or content if I don't understand what's going on. And like I, the relationship I have with my coparent now, I mean, he, since we met, he's been one of my best friends, you know, and um, to not lose that, it's really important and, and to still have that co parenting relationship. And I now, if I could go back, I, I would, I know that I could have said, well, I need an open marriage and I need a separate house and I need, you know, I need to radically restructure this relationship. But I did not know it was possible to ask for those things. Right? I thought it was either you live this normative marriage or you are single and that's another divide that settled or set up. But when people ask me if I'm single, I'm like, well, even if I'm not seeing somebody know why I don't live alone in this world, I have all kinds of relations and meaningful relationships, you know, so I don't think we should have to identify a single or coupled up. We are all in relation period all the time. Whether those relations are good or not, we're in relation. That's an impressive question. So stop asking people if they're married or single. That's what I think. Yeah.Speaker 8:
Thank you so much for coming all the way out here. I know it was a tremendous gesture on your part and I really appreciate it. Well thanks for having me on. For the audience, if they want to engage with you and your work, what is the best way to find you? I have, well the critical polyamorous.com website and then I have another one on my science work, which is indigenous s t s.com. That's my whole research group. Awesome. Well we'll send people your way. Thank you. No, thank you so much. Please subscribe rate and comment on iTunes. We'd loveSpeaker 5:
to try and get the pod to the new and noteworthy page and reach all the peoples. You can follow the podcast at Amr podcasts on Instagram. You can follow me, Adrian, I native appropes on Instagram and Twitter or check out native appropriations.com Matea can be found at project underscore five six two on Instagram or at Matico Wilbur on Twitter. Her website is project five six to.com. You can follow Kim's fire tweets at Kim Tall, bear on Twitter, and her book is native American Dna, tribal belonging and the false promise of genetic science. And you should seriously buy it and read it. It is available on the internets where books are sold. Huge thanks to our amazing production team, audio engineer and art director, Teo Sean producer book Sweeney and Production Assistant, Juanita Toledo, amazing episode, art by Sierra Sauna who was on Insta at art by Sierra. We're going to be having amazing video clips coming out too, so huge shout out to our set designers, tunneled Sunburg and Emily would south side all stars where they built the set are set lighting experts. Jonathan Hauser, our colorist, Tristin, Synack, and music provided by Otn. Oh, Terry, if you have any original music that you'd like to have featured on our future episodes, please email your clips to all my relations [email protected] stay tuned for the next episode where we talked to a superstar writers, Billy Ray Belcourt and Joshua Whitehead about their writing. They're two spirit and indeed you queer identity and so much more. We had so much fun with them and Adrian, totally fan grilled out, so we're excited to share.Speaker 3:
I did. I did fangirl out. Oh my relationship.