While her argument was far ranging and a bit free wheeling, I nonetheless found Smith's argument convincing. Especially insightful was her equation of sexual violation with the violation of land claims of Native Americans (424). While one must be cautious about making claims with a direct form of causality such as this, the denying of legal rights and violating land sovereignty in the name of "true rights" and manifest destiny seem very correspond quite clearly with the creation of a Native American who is not quite human, not quite pure. The purity of the white race is thus contrasted with the filth of the natives and their supposed sexual animal nature. Native American men and Black men (not to mention, currently, Hispanic men) are targeted as criminals who prey on "real" Americans, being defined as white, middle class individuals who are heterosexual. Women of "ethnicity" are ignored as subjects of crimes, as is rather apparent here in Alaska. Indeed, the problems within the Native communities are defined as Native "problems" and it is difficult to live in close proximity to Native American communities without hearing totalizing claims about their culture, rarely in complimentary terms. Thus, while Smith paints a (likely exaggerated) rosy picture of what life was for Native Americans prior to domination and marginalization, her argument about what the process of colonization means in the present was very insightful and poignant, especially her consideration of the various examples of resentment for the mere existence of Native Americans with needs. Here, I think especially of the claim that "the Canadian government could boost health care funding for 'real people in real towns' by cutting the bureaucracy that serves only native peoples" (424).
And yet, the range of her discussion suggests that sexual violence against women is not as simple as she suggests: it is not merely a tool, a method of control, or an entirely intended consequence. When non-Natives cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed on a reservation, it is also an issue of sovereignty, of funding and political interest. When the question of rape is considered relative to Native American cultures, it is also an issue of cultural relativism, tribal sovereignty, and marginalization. Thus, while her treatment of the issue is illuminating, the question of what to do is not made to appear simple; while this is realistic, it also ultimately makes action much more complex.