First, you will read Dr. Joyce Green’s “Taking More Account of Indigenous Feminism”. This chapter is the introduction to the second edition of Green’s edited collection, Making Space for Indigenous Feminism (2017). Thus, Green begins by discussing changes in the academic and activist fields of Indigenous feminism since the first issue of the book in 2007. She writes ten years since the first edition there is now “a significant body of writing relevant to Indigenous feminism” and a growing recognition within Indigenous decolonization movements that gender equality is necessary for successful decolonization. When the first issue of the book was released, there was resistance among Indigenous people to the label ‘feminism’. Today, Green writes, “hostility to the presence and analyses of Indigenous feminists are somewhat mitigated” (3). While there is some resistance to adopting the label “feminist” among many Indigenous people, Green notes that there is a growing activist and academic network of Indigenous feminists.
As you read:
- Pay attention to Green’s discussion of tensions over the label ‘feminist’ within Indigenous communities. Why don’t some Indigenous people like the label Indigenous feminism? What does Green think?
- Try to summarize, in your own words, Green’s definition of Indigenous feminism, starting on page 4. What does Indigenous feminism have to do with land? What are the main sources of oppression for Indigenous women?
- Try to summarize, in your own words, Green’s definition of feminism. How does Green’s definition compare to bell hooks’s definition, from Module 1?
- Try to summarize, in your own words, Green’s explanation of the relationship between colonialism and patriarchy (p. 9-12). Why does Green say, “for Indigenous women in Canada, patriarchy is only part of the problem” (11)?
Indigenous feminists are a powerful force in Canada. In addition to challenging the Indian Act, which institutionalized patriarchy in their communities, Indigeous women have been at the forefront of contemporary movements to protect Indgenous land from resource extraction projects that threaten Indigenous ways of life. For example, Idle No More is a movement started by three Indigenous women and one non-Indigenous woman to protect Indigenous land and water from environmental degradation and resource extraction. Indigenous feminists also successfully pressured the Government of Canada to implement a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit people. The Final Report of the National Inquiry, issued June 3, 2019, documents a pattern of ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and two spirit people in Canada. Engaging with Black feminism and the work of Kimberle Crenshaw, the report uses a intersectional lens focused on the ways in which multiple, overlapping structures of oppression including racism, settler-colonialism, patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia contribute to ongoing violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people (108-09). The report identifies four pathways that contribute to a pattern of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit peoples, including: historical, multigenerational, and intergenerational trauma; social and economic marginalization; maintaining the status quo and institutional lack of will; and ignoring the agency and expertise of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Among the causes of ongoing violence are police and government inaction and a lack of social and cultural supports for Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. On the anniversary of the release of the Final Report, NWAC released a report card on the Government of Canada’s progress addressing the Calls for Justice, giving the government a failing grade due to inaction.
In 2014, Women’s Earth Alliance and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network released a report and toolkit titled Violence on the Land, Violence on Our Bodies: Building an Indigenous Response to Environmental Violence. You will read pages 1 through 17 of Violence on the Land, Violence on Our Bodies. The report explains the relationship between environmental violence and sexual violence — or the relationship between consent over land and consent over bodies. Dene-Zaa/Nehiyaw social worker, poet, and activist Helen Knott explains how resource extractive industries which violate Indigenous women’s autonomy in relation to land lead to violations of Indigenous women’s consent over their own bodies. A warning that this video includes discussions of sexual violence.
As you read:
- Remember you only need to read pages 1-17.
- Try to explain the connection between land and body consent in your own words.
- Notice how the authors of the report emphasize the power and agency of Indigenous peoples to resist colonialism.