The Judge and the Deer Woman

In the oral histories of the ancestral caretakers who haunt and persevere on the lands we inhabit, there existed a creature called the Deer Woman. Deer Woman, a figure shared between Three Fires and Six Nations tribes alike, served many different roles among many folklore traditions. Shared among all variations however, is one critical fact, Deer Woman is a purveyor of justice. Known as a protector of women, Deer Woman would hunt down, deceive, and exact revenge on abusive men. Serving as a trickster she had the ability to shapeshift and infiltrate. 

Amidst waves of colonialism, the ancestral plains saw new found horrors. Networks and scales of abuse became stronger and larger than ever before. Not only did the colonizer weaponize sexual violence against our women and children through kidnapping and sex trafficking, but they expanded philosophies of exploitation and perversion to our natural world. The Deer Woman has had a heavy workload. In the present, the scourge of abuses towards our missing and murdered Indigenous women continue. Where we observe this scourge we find the repulsive scents of corporate degradation of our homelands, and the militarism necessary to obscure this. Oral history shows us that militarism and exploitation are limited in their capacity to persevere, it is the caretakers who persist. One can imagine the day when it is the Deer Woman who strikes the final blow against Embridge or Kinder Morgan. Until then, she remains busy.

From these traditions of justice, we see a clear truth: the Deer Woman is not the judge. Deer Woman is not bound by laws or jurisdictions, she is not subject to impeachment or election. Deer Woman is endowed by the creator with a responsibility to protect the natural world and its creatures. No disrespect to the judge, but centuries after the courts are buried and the laws are in forgotten languages, we’ll see the hooves of the Deer Woman leave fresh tracks. 

It is with this grounding in the eternal cleansing of our world from the evil spirits of greed and militarism, that this project begins. When the media folks rely on for just articulation choose to instead pump out the toxins of special interests, we necessitate new machines. Deer Woman Press is an effort to provide voice and agency to members of the Hyde Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods of Chicago to tell their stories without fear of censorship. We are not bound by institutional demands, not subject to cuts, and in these conditions we have freedom to do away with the restrictions placed on authorship. Those engaged in the struggles that give us hope, justice, and protection deserve the right to tell their stories as they see fit. Let us endow this space for that purpose. 

We now extend an open invitation to our friends seeking a soapbox, to borrow the one we’re building. Long live the Deer Woman.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *