On indigenous incarceration and settler colonialism: Jacquelyn May Teran, ‘Colonial Order and the Origins of California Native Women’s Mass Incarceration: California Missions and Beyond’, MA Dissertation, University of California, Los Angels, 2015


Abstract: This thesis begins to explore how understanding settler colonialism is significant to understanding and dismantling the prison industrial complex (PIC). Using the historical dehumanization, racialization, gendering and criminalization of California Indians as a lens reveals the way Native women specifically have become entrapped by a legal system that gives impunity to those who enact violence upon Native women but criminalize behaviors that are often associated with the trauma of victimization. I begin with the arrival of the Spanish in 1769 and closely examine the way the monjeríos , the room in every mission that locked young girls and women up until marriage, functions as a site of gendering and racialization through their imprisonment and specific conditions. Building off of that work and culling from newspaper sources, the 1850 Act for the Government and Protection of Indians formalized and codified the criminalization and carcerality of California Indians through the federal government, the state, and local communities. This specific time period marks a shift from mission and Spanish control to one of conquest by law and criminalization, which begins a period of jurisdictional law designed to leave Native women vulnerable to settlers. Later, adding to the complex matrix of jurisdictional injustice imposed on California Indians through The 1850 Act, was The Major Crimes Act, Public Law 280, Oliphant v. Suquamish, as well as other laws and policies, all which reinforce the gendered entrapment of Native women. The paper concludes by looking at the work of two California Indian women, Stormy Ogden (Pomo) and Deborah Miranda (Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen) whose voices have illuminated how the historical legacies of settler colonialism continues to impact Native women today. Their voices are significant tools to begin to dismantle the PIC through sharing stories of survival.

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