Aboriginal Women; Past and Present

Topics: Woman, Girl, Aboriginal peoples in Canada Pages: 8 (3090 words) Published: October 22, 2009
This final paper will be focused on the lives of Aboriginal women past and present. I would like to delve into the history of how their culture switched from a matriarchal society to Aboriginal women losing respect and gaining stereotypes. Through this paper I would like to learn about how these stereotypes have come about, why they exist, and what is being done to stop them. I would like to take in this information for myself, as an educator, to teach children of all cultures that any type of stereotyping is wrong and to teach anyone I can about the knowledge I have gained by writing this paper. To initiate my learning and teaching, I will be using a number of sources. First, to discuss the different stereotypes Aboriginal women have faced since Western civilization was introduced to Canada, I will look at Beatrice Mosioner’s In Search of April Raintree (1999) as well as Kim Anderson’s article The Construction of a Negative Identity (2000). I will also be looking at another article by Anderson (2000) when looking at how the matriarchal society of the Aboriginals was disrupted by Western civilization, The Dismantling of Gender Equality gives a great description of how these events took place, and how all Aboriginal women suddenly lost not only their status, but their dignity. A source that provoked me to do more research on programs encouraging empowerment for adolescent women and girls is Christine General’s presentation on The Death of the Indian Princess and the Squaw given on October 22nd 2008. This presentation is what made the issues surrounding Aboriginal women sound so intriguing to me; I wanted to find out more, more about the program Christine and her sister are trying to get off the ground, more about Aboriginal women of the past, and more about how much has changed for Aboriginal women over the years. Christine’s presentation also led me to find more information about other programs available in Canada for Aboriginal females, women, youth, and children. I found information on one particular program, Team Spirit: Aboriginal Girls in Sport, which focuses on the Term Paper 2

empowerment of Aboriginal girls and young women through sports and physical activity. It is run by the Canadian Association for the Advancement in Women in Sports and Physical Activity (CAAWS) and is described as “a national project to increase sport opportunities for aboriginal girls and young women through collaboration, capacity building and leadership development” on their website at changemakers.net. I will be describing both Christine’s presentation as well as the Team Spirit website later on in this paper and discuss how both of these programs could benefit young Aboriginal women. Finally, I will also be looking at an Article written about the murder of Pamela George, an Aboriginal woman who was killed by two men while selling her body to support her family. This is article, Pamela George: a victim of history and economic racism, by Ron Bourgeault (1997) describes the events that happened on that night of April 18th 1995. This article also gives a description of the trial and what faced the two men that committed this crime. This article will assist me in talking about the excessive violence that is put upon Canadian Aboriginal Women, and a program called sisters in spirit that has been put in place for this specific issue. Although I would rather not end my paper on a negative note, violence against Aboriginal women is something that still exists in Canada today, and what happened to Pamela George in 1995 is something that all of us should never forget. Sisters in Spirit is similar to the white ribbon campaign, but focuses specifically on the violence associated with Aboriginal women. In my opinion, it’s very sad that there even has to be a group like this dedicated to a specific culture. These are the themes and literature that I will be looking at throughout my paper to investigate why Aboriginal women lost their power, what...
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