Drowning And Indian Identitys

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Both Craig Womack’s novel “Drowning in Fire” and Gloria Anzaldúa’s semi-autobiographical work “Borderlands” explore the intersection between queer and Indian identities. One specific way that Womack and Anzaldúa focus on these identities is through the tension between native religions and Christianity in the lives of modern natives. Both authors come up with a compelling narrative of what it is like to be native and queer in the face of an institutionalized product of Western conquest like Christianity that attempts to erase both of those identities. When read in unison with theory from Gloria Anzaldúa’s “Borderlands,” Craig Womack’s “Drowning in Fire” uses the religious journeys of Lucy and Josh to paint Christianity as an oppressive and …show more content…
She describes the Catholicism that Chicanos practice as an imperfect union of the religion of the conquistadors and the pagan religion of the Indians (Anzaldúa, 27). She also describes the struggle of her people to hold on to their native culture in the face of Christianity and colonization: “our faith is rooted in indigenous attributes, images, symbols, magic and myth … The Indian, despite extreme despair, suffering and near genocide, has survived” (Anzaldúa, 30). She believes that the spiritual world of the native religion is a concrete reality and that those who have been ostracized from their tribe have a more immediate connection to it. (Anzaldúa, 37-38). Lucy and Josh have both been ostracized in their Creek communities -- Lucy, by refusing to conform to her gender and Josh because of his sexuality. Therefore, according to Anzaldúa, they both have a deep connection to their ancestry and the spiritual world. This is apparent throughout the entirety of “Drowning with Fire,” when it is Lucy, and then Josh after Lucy’s death, who is charged with the job of remembering the Creek history and keeping up the tradition of …show more content…
Like Anzaldúa, Lucy is a mestiza-- her mother is Creek and her father is a white Christian. Though married to a white man, Lucy’s mother is still in tune with her Creek spirituality, and she often practices covertly, in defiance to Lucy’s father’s suppressive Christianity: “When Daddy kills squirrels, Mama cleans them. She waits until he ain’t around and [buries them] … saying a little prayer to them” (Womack, 35). While Lucy watches her mother secretly practice the religion of the Creeks, she is also forced by her father to attend Sunday school in an all-white church: “I quote all the scriptures they learned me over at the Sunday school Daddy made me go to at Willow Creek” (Womack, 34). Lucy’s father does not only suppress the religion of his Creek wife, but he forces Christianity on his children as well, therefore silencing Creek spirituality in his household and attempting to cut it off completely in his family line. For Lucy to turn to the Creek religion would be a direct act of rebellion against her father’s spiritual authority in her

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