restricted access The State is a Man: Theresa Spence, Loretta Saunders and the Gender of Settler Sovereignty


This article examines the relationship between settler colonialism and Indigenous women’s life and death. In it, I examine the incredulity and outrage that obtained to a hunger strike of (Chief) Theresa Spence and the murder of Loretta Saunders. Both affective modes were torn from the same book of exonerating culpability from a public that denied an historic and political relationship between Indigenous women’s death and settler governance. The paper argues that in spite of this denial, these deaths worked effectively to highlight the gendered, biopolitical life of settler sovereignty.