Choreography, Sexuality, and the Indigenous Body in Tomson Highway's Kiss of the Fur Queen

Rachid Belghiti


This paper focuses on the body and dance as central categories of analysis in Tomson Highway's novel Kiss of the Fur Queen. The paper examines the ways in which the indigenous body in the novel is not only subjected to the colonial violence that sexually inflicts it, but also disrupts this violence through dance which homogenises indigenous community and transgresses colonial stereotypes in Eurocentric Canada. While tracing various moments of unreadability in both Gabriel's dance and Pow Wow ceremony, the paper suggests that the novel intervenes in the contemporary debate around the elusiveness of dance and choreography from the perspective of indigenous collective memory. The paper maintains that while building a bridge between indigenous and contemporary theories of dance, the novel never undermines the colonial dynamic that problematises the connection between the two. The paper clarifies that the queer relationship between Gabriel and his ballet mentor and lover Gregory Newman illustrates this dynamic as it revolves around the Canadian colonial history that conditions it and the institutional power of choreographic knowledge that regulates it.


body, choreography; dance; gender; indigenous collective memory; sexuality

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