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Ohitika Chade Wiya – Brave Hearted Woman: A Narrative of Recovery, Reclamation and Renewal of an Indigenous woman’s body image Open Access


Other title
Body image
Indigenous feminisms
Settler colonialism
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Letendre, Toni Sparkling Eyes
Supervisor and department
McHugh, Tara-Leigh (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Altamirano-Jimenez, Isabel (Political Science)
Holt, Nick (Physical Education and Recreation)
Bear, Tracy (Native Studies)
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Arts
Degree level
Body image research with Indigenous women typically focuses on the concept of health and their understandings of health. However, it is necessary to acknowledge how Indigenous women’s body image has been shaped through heteropatriarchy and settler colonialism. The purpose of this autoethnography was to understand Indigenous women’s body image. This study has been guided through an Indigenous perspective that draws from my own Indigenous background as a Nakota and the theoretical framework of Indigenous feminism(s). The guiding research question was ‘how can we create a safe space for Indigenous women to seek empowerment and find opportunity to share their own body image narratives of heteropatriarchal colonial and sexual violence?’ Typically, in our society when individuals speak up about the violence they experience, they are victim-blamed and shunned. When Indigenous women experience colonial or sexual violence (e.g. missing and murdered Indigenous women), they are silenced. I used epiphanies to capture these experiences and to challenge the conceptualization of Indigenous bodies within the biomedical and mainstream media discourse. I drew from remembered moments that have significantly impacted my body image experiences. I created a three-part collection of poetry and prose to capture my thoughts, feelings, and emotions from racism, sexism, and discrimination growing up in Edmonton, Alberta. By conducting an autoethnography, the project was framed within a cultural landscape that acknowledges the history, the stories, and experiences dealing with settler colonialism and heteropatriarchy that also satisfied my ethics in Indigenous research.
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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