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
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
• 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
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.
Life expectancy - Abo men and women- less, 6.7% less than non aboriginal men
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
• 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
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