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Social Science
SOSC 1350
Julie Dowsett

Please note: One sentence was cut off at the bottom of page 74 (or page 30 course kit) of the Stevenson reading. The sentence should read: “Traditional knowledge [and skills were hidden by those Aboriginal men and women who resisted total] cultural transformation.” The square bracketed text is the portion that was cut off. Please fill in your course kits accordingly! GENDER, COLONIALISM AND ABORIGINAL PEOPLES (PART 1) The Canadian state itself exists on the basis of the expropriation of native land and resources, the subordination of native politics. —Ward Churchill (1947-present) During the colonial period, male authority was being encouraged by Euro- Americans in their political and military dealings with [Aboriginal peoples] at the same time [Aboriginal] women were becoming dependent in individual households on wage-earning and trading husbands. —Eleanor Leacock (1922-1987) 1. Who are We Talking About When We Talk About Aboriginal Peoples? • “Aboriginal” is an umbrella term encompassing Inuit, Métis and First Nations  Very diverse group of people. Avoid discussion of “Canadian Indian”, “Indian” is a legal category, always in quotes because it is problematic. Very common to hear Canadian (media, or casual conversation) refers to them as “Indian” (singular) and as if those people under this category all live the same life (Very homogenous view). • Multiplicity of languages and cultural groups  60 Different aboriginal languages spoken (52 distinct cultural groups) • 79% live off-reserve; 59% in cities  More and more aboriginal people are living in cities now.  6.7% percent lived in aboriginal cities in 1951  In 2001 it was 49%; 2011 79% in cities  Huge Exodus. Many reserve are characterized by poverty. Assembly of First Nations has done studies documenting how the conditions are on reserves, they closely resemble to third world or developing countries. Housing is reserves are often overcrowded and lack plumbing. 2009- 116 communities received warnings that their water was not drinkable. Rates of disease are quite high as a result of these living conditions: Tuberculosis (because of poor sanitary conditions) H1N1 hit aboriginals communities a lot harder • Poor conditions on reserves (epitomized by 2009 “body bag scandal”)  September 2009 (midst of h1n1) several aboriginal communities in Manitoba requested assistance from the federal government. Instead of sending abo communities the health kits like how they did with other cities for H1N1, they sent them body bags. WHAT AN INSULT. Why are we sending them body bags? Why are they not given the kits like the other communities? These conditions that they live in, there is a systematic forms of oppression as we can see here. Aboriginal people on reserves are at such a disadvantage. There is severe neglect on part of the government. 2. Review (and Expansion Upon) Previous Discussions Relating to Aboriginal Peoples • Social and economic marginalization (aboriginal women in particular)  Average income- 35% to 40% lower to country’s average  Poverty- Aboriginals women are hit the hardest. They are poorer than Aboriginal men and non-aboriginal women.  Death rate  Life expectancy - Abo men and women- less, 6.7% less than non aboriginal men and women  Experiences with violence – 3 times the rate of non-aboriginal women. They are 3 times more likely to die from violence than non-aboriginal women. • section 12 (1)(b) of the Indian Act  Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell • When a aboriginal women marries a non aboriginal man, she will lose her status, as well as there kids and so on. HOWEVER. When Indian status men marry non-aboriginal women, the woman will gain Indian status, as well as the kids.  Mary Two-Axe Early’s activism  Sandra Lovelace at the United Nations • Lost her status after marrying a man who wasn’t an aboriginal. They separated and then she wanted to move back to her reserve. The Canadian Government denied her.  Bill C-31 (1985) • Passed. 35,000 women reclaimed their status. But there were certain circumstances; there were complex rules involved with this Bill. 100,000’s of people don’t have Indian status because of this discriminatory provision. In order to regain status, you have to have extensive knowledge of family
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