Michelle McGeough: "Go Wan Go Mohawk’s Queering of West"

Thursday, November 23, 2023 16:30to17:30
Arts Building W-215, 853 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 0G5, CA

Go-won-go Mohawk was, by all accounts, a larger-than-life persona(s) who seemed to defy labels of any kind. Her "troubling gender" performances were, for the most part, confined to the vaudeville stages of North America and Europe. As the first Native American playwright, Go-won-go's life and the retailing of it is an example of what Scott Lyons refers to as "rhetorical sovereignty," the inherent right and ability of peoples to determine their own communicative needs and desires in this pursuit, to decide for themselves the goals, modes, styles, and languages of public discourse" (241). In plying her craft, Go-won-go Mohawk brought into the realm of public discourse a construction of Native American masculinity that differed from popular stereotypes. In her stage performances as the Native American male protagonist in the plays Wep-Ton-No Mah, The Indian Mail Carrier, and The Flaming Arrow, she did not portray Native Americans as victims but as the heroes. While Go-won-go deflected the politics of recognition for her own ends, she also engaged in the ongoing struggle for recognition and justice by Native Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century.

About the speaker: Dr. Michelle McGeough (Cree Métis/Settler) completed her PhD in Indigenous art history at the University of New Mexico. Prior to returning to school for her advanced degree, she taught Museum Studies at the Institute of American Indian Art and was the Assistant curator at the Wheelwright Museum of the Native American Indian in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. McGeough has a Master’s degree from Carleton University as well as a BFA from Emily Carr and an undergraduate degree from the Institute of American Indian Art. She also has a B.Ed. degree from the University of Alberta. Dr. McGeough currently teaches at Concordia University in the Art History department.

Dr. McGeough’s research interests have focused on the indigenous two-spirit identity. She is a board member of daphne, the first Indigenous artist run centre in Tiohtià:ke. She is a co-applicant in the SSCHR Thinking Through the Museum Partnership grant, Queer Operatives, and The Morrisseau Project. Her essays have appeared in C-space, Union Docs, and an upcoming volume entitled Two-Spirit, Indigiqueer, and LGBTTQ* Interventions into Museums, Archives, and Curation. Other areas of her research include the application of Indigenous research methodologies and the incorporation of these ways of knowing into the development of curriculum and the curation of contemporary and historic Indigenous art. Currently, Dr. McGeough teaches Indigenous art histories in Concordia’s Art History department. She is also an independent curator and has curated exhibitions for daphne, the I.D.E.A. at Colorado College, the Indigenous Art Center, in Ottawa and the Museum of Contemporary Native American Art in Santa Fe New, Mexico.

This event is presented and made possible by the collaboration and support of the Dean of Arts Development Fund, an Anonymous Donor, the Indigenous Studies and Community Engagement Initiative (ISCEI) and a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

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