Krista Benson is a PhD Candidate in the department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and also has a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Sexuality Studies. Her research interests include queer of color critique and critical trans politics, indigenous feminist inquiry, critical carceral theory, and settler colonization. Prior to joining Frontiers, Krista served as a graduate instructor in WGSS and as the Administrative Assistant for the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at OSU (DISCO).
Her project The Kids Who Are(n't) There: Indigenous Youth, Child Removal, and Juvenile Detention argues that the removal of Native children in eastern Washington State has been and continues to be a keystone of ongoing settler colonization. This monograph tracks the use of three distinct systems—compulsory education in mission and boarding schools, adoption and foster care outside of family and tribal environments, and juvenile justice—to remove Native children as a part of the process of eliminating and assimilating indigenous ways of knowing and indigenous people. She argues that the removal of Native youth from family and tribal homes were and remain central to the ongoing gendered and racialized project of settler colonization in the United States. Through this project, the connected logics of state-sponsored compulsory education, foster care and adoption, and juvenile justice have not just justified removal of Native children, but have shaped our very understandings of American citizenship, race, gender, and sexuality.