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Women are Discriminated Against within Politics in Indigenous Communities Because of their Gender Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Horseman, Darlene N
Supervisor and department
Dr. L. James Dempsey
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Nathalie Kermoal (Native Studies)
Dr. Laurie Nock (Anthropology)
Faculty of Native Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Master of Arts
Degree level
The purpose of this study was to prove that women are discriminated against within politics in Indigenous Communities because of their gender. It will demonstrate how the Cree people historically were once an egalitarian society. Even though women were not often seen in leadership roles, such as chiefs, leaders of hunting or war parties, they still had important roles to play in their societies. This study set out to prove how colonial legislation had a big influence on changing the way-of-knowing and thinking for many Native groups including, but not limited to the Cree people of Canada. It will demonstrate how the Cree people would no longer be an egalitarian society, but now be forced to live in a patriarchal society created by the Canadian government. This thesis will prove that Cree women had important roles in their societies using the following theories/methodologies: • Storytelling – Oral history and Interviews • Indigenous Feminism • Literature Review These methodologies and theories were chosen, as they best reflected the philosophies of the Cree people in the Treaty 8 area. In this study, three individual members of Horse Lake First Nation were interviewed to demonstrate how many Aboriginal men have taken on and accepted the western views of the colonizer. Many carry out those views by disempowering the women in their communities. Some of them have the idea that women should not be in positions of power and they belong in the household looking after domestic duties. Missionaries and Residential Schools aided in teaching male dominance to the Native people in Canada. They were given the mandate by the federal government to train female students to become submissive to male authority. Past Literature written about Aboriginal women reveals and confirms the discrimination they experienced. Even at the Supreme Court of Canada level, Aboriginal women were deemed savages. In conclusion, this study shows how discrimination women continue to face on their reserves resulted from colonial legislation, government restrictions and mandates. It shows how women, even today, continue to be discriminated against. Yes, the laws have changed to eliminate gender discrimination, but now they face it within their own communities, by their own people. Women continue to be devalued and struggle to be treated as equals. Women have never been elected as chief and continue to be disrespected in positions of management.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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