In Cherokee Asegi udanto refers to people who either fall outside of men’s and women’s roles or who mix men’s and women’s roles. Asegi, which translates as “strange,” is also used by some Cherokees as a term similar to “queer.” For author Qwo-Li Driskill, asegi provides a means by which to reread Cherokee history in order to listen for those stories rendered “strange” by colonial heteropatriarchy.
As the first full-length work of scholarship to develop a tribally specific Indigenous Queer or Two-Spirit critique, Asegi Stories examines gender and sexuality in Cherokee cultural memory, how they shape the present, and how they can influence the future.
The theoretical and methodological underpinnings of Asegi Stories derive from activist, artistic, and intellectual genealogies, referred to as “dissent lines” by Maori scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith. Driskill intertwines Cherokee and other Indigenous traditions, women of color feminisms, grassroots activisms, queer and Trans studies and politics, rhetoric, Native studies, and decolonial politics. Drawing from oral histories and archival documents in order to articulate Cherokee-centered Two-Spirit critiques, Driskill contributes to the larger intertribal movements for social justice.
Qwo-Li Driskill is an assistant professor in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at Oregon State University. Driskill is co-editor of Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature and Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature. S/he is also the author of the poetry collection Walking with Ghosts: Poems.
“Interweaving theory, history, and creative work along the metaphor of basket weaving, Asegi Stories
offers a powerful rereading of European colonialism and encourages a reimagination of traditional Cherokee gender and sexuality.”—Rezensionen
“An integral tool for teaching decolonial theory/pedagogy or furthering a discussion of cultural rhetorics and queer theory to show the ways that history has always been told by the victors, not the oppressors.”—American Indian Quarterly
“Based in part on research and in part on creative reworking of culture, Driskill’s monograph presents both a valuable critical source for Two-Spirit histories and theories and a model for a creative praxis that productively envisions the asegi
space of the future.”—Studies in American Indian Literature
“Driskill queers the practice of memory and history. S/he works as an exile within colonial logics, creating origin stories that find their significance in the present.”—Anabaptist Witness
“As Driskill presents a retelling and reimagining of the Cherokee Two-Spirit experience, both the past and the future are reworked and reenvisioned.”—American Indian Culture and Research Journal
“One of the most important new works of Queer Indigenous Studies scholarship.”—Transmotion
“Places the study of sexuality and Two-Spirit strategies for continuance at the heart of decolonial struggles and decolonial intellectual projects that bridge grassroots and academic scholarship.”—Maylei Blackwell, author of ¡Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement