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Women of the First Nations Power, Wisdom, and Strength
Privacy Copyright. Skip to main content. DigitalCommons University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Great Plains Quarterly. Citation Great Plains Quarterly Vol. Abstract This book fulfills one of two purposes emerging from the first National Symposium on Aboriginal Women of Canada: Past, Present, and Future, held in at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta: to bring together a collection of talks-as oral texts-and academic papers about various aspects of Aboriginal women's lives written by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women.
Preview this item Preview this item. Series: Manitoba studies in native history , 9. Because there is no single voice, identity, history, or cultural experience that represents the women of the First Nations, a realistic picture will have many facets. Accordingly, the authors in Women of the First Nations include Native and non-Native scholars, feminists, and activists from across Canada.
They discuss women's traditional roles as teachers and providers, and they challenge standard media representations, as well as historical and current realities. They bring new perspectives to discussions on Aboriginal art, literature, historical and cultural contributions, and they offer diverse viewpoints on present economic, environmental, and political issues. Read more Show all links.
Manitoba History: Review: Women of the First Nations: Power, Wisdom and Strength
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Remember me on this computer. Cancel Forgot your password? Christine Miller ; Patricia Marie Chuchryk. Many informants speak of rough times when their families would have given them help but were so poor themselves that they had nothing to give Silman They were barred from inheriting or retaining property on reserve land and from returning to their reserve for anything more than short visits, even if destitute. The various fronts on which battles were being fought mainly concerned land settlements Krosenbrink-Gelissen , and the members of lobbying organizations were almost exclusively male e.
In general, they held that the Indian Act, while discriminatory and deeply flawed, was also the only available leverage for dealing with the Canadian government.
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They therefore did not want to challenge parts of the Act in case the government decided to do away with it entirely, without compensating First Nations people. Three main reasons can readily be identified. This meant that, where leaders were restricted in their behaviour by community sanctions in the past, that restrictive force was absent in the new system. This was impossible on the reserves, particularly as they became more Europeanized. The government stringently enforced their policy of immobility for First Nations people by making many activities illegal for Status Indians off-reserve Krosenbrink-Gelissen Two-Axe Earley was evicted from the Kahnawake reserve and from her inherited property after marrying a white man.
Unfortunately the Canadian Government then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that the Indian Act was not discriminatory on the basis that the government needed a way of determining band membership. Lovelace then took her case before the UN in , and in , the UN unanimously agreed that the Act was discriminatory and that the Government of Canada was abusing the human rights of First Nations women Silman ; Krosenbrink-Gelissen The struggle lasted nearly a decade, during which time the women developed numerous strategies to force the government to deal with them.
Their first initiative, the occupation of the Tobique band office, lasted a year, during which they endured extreme hardship, violence, threats, apathy to their cause, and racism.
Women of the First Nations : power, wisdom, and strength
To their surprise, their struggle attracted both great interest and support from local and national media. Conclusion: First Nations Women as Counter-force The Tobique Women proved not only to be savvy with the media and to be capable of withstanding tremendous physical and psychological pressures, but also to be strategically adept and to work well within a political system not their own in order to achieve their political objectives Silman First Nations men have been in a position to demand greater status, in the dominant culture and also within their communities, and have therefore been maneuvering towards culture change that has served their own interests.
The Tobique Women are the visible front of a counter-force to this maneuvering, a decisive action to establish a more gender-equal social structure. In light of the profound changes in social structure, political systems, and economy that derive from the imposition of the Indian Act, it is doubtful whether Aboriginal gender roles will ever return to the traditional models, even for those nations whose women historically wielded great power.
The Euro-Canadian government has indeed achieved certain objectives with the Indian Act—that is, restructuring First Nations social and economic hierarchies according to a model that it sees as more conducive to modern economic conditions. First Nations have provided a large, inexpensive, and easy-to-access work force to the dominant economy McMillan and Yellowhorn —4 , and it is probably true that this work force simply would not have been available without first depriving First Nations of their traditional social structures.
As in the past, this cultural restructuring will most likely—perhaps necessarily—be the initiative of women. The Act delineates the necessary pedigree to be considered a Status Indian. References Alderville Economic Development Armstrong, Jeannette Miller, Christine and Patricia Chuchryk, eds.
Winnepeg: University of Manitoba. Bilharz, Joy First Among Equals? In Women and Colonization: Anthropological Perspectives.
Etienne, Mona and Eleanor Leacock, eds. Norman: University of Oklahoma. Women and Colonization. Etienne, Mona and Leacock, Eleanor, eds. New York: Praeger. Daniels, Harry W. Bill C The Abocide Bill. Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. Emberly, Julia V.
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Signs 27 1 — Furi, Megan and Wherrett, Jill. Library of Parliament. Grumet, Robert Steven Green, Joyce Canadian Journal of Political Science 34 4 — Scarborough, ON: Carswell. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Ottawa: Indian and Northern Affairs.