Incarcerated Stories

Indigenous Women Migrants and Violence in the Settler-Capitalist State

By Shannon Speed

Incarcerated Stories

176 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 5 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5312-9
    Published: October 2019
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5311-2
    Published: October 2019

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Indigenous women migrants from Central America and Mexico face harrowing experiences of violence before, during, and after their migration to the United States, like all asylum seekers. But as Shannon Speed argues, the circumstances for Indigenous women are especially devastating, given their disproportionate vulnerability to neoliberal economic and political policies and practices in Latin America and the United States, including policing, detention, and human trafficking. Speed dubs this vulnerability "neoliberal multicriminalism" and identifies its relation to settler structures of Indigenous dispossession and elimination. Using innovative ethnographic practices to record and recount stories from Indigenous women in U.S. detention, Speed demonstrates that these women's vulnerability to individual and state violence is not rooted in a failure to exercise agency. Rather, it is a structural condition, created and reinforced by settler colonialism, which consistently deploys racial and gender ideologies to manage the ongoing business of occupation and capitalist exploitation.

With sensitive narration and sophisticated analysis, this book reveals the human consequences of state policy and practices throughout the Americas and adds vital new context for understanding the circumstances of migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

About the Author

Shannon Speed (Chickasaw Nation) is professor of gender studies and anthropology and director of the American Indian Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.
For more information about Shannon Speed, visit the Author Page.


"Speed offers us a rare glimpse of deportation proceedings and dangerous border crossings from Indigenous women's perspectives. By focusing on the structural violence inherent in immigration policies and capitalist economies, she demonstrates how ideologies of class, race, gender, and nationality converge in devastating ways to mark Indigenous women's lives at different junctures of the immigrant experience."--Bianet Castellanos, University of Minnesota

"Incarcerated Stories is a tremendously powerful and engaging exploration of the particular ways in which Indigenous women are made vulnerable by the structural violence of settler states."--María Elena García, University of Washington