This commentary essay, a co-written dialogue, attends to the ongoing phenomenon that has plagued American history known as “playing Indian.” In oscillating between the simultaneous conquest and dispossession of Native people, this phenomenon allows “white” Americans to define, mask, and evade the multiple paradoxes that stem from settler-colonial violence. Simas and Mitchell have worked extensively in the dance field. As their conversation discusses both the histories and the strategies of these “performances,” the coauthors explore the repercussions of non-Native people’s attempts to perform Native experiences through dance paradigms in particular. They link the aesthetic and fiscal consequences of “playing Indian” to the trauma of erasure and invisibilization that has continued to haunt Native experience.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.