In this paper, two Euro-Canadian women scholars critically examine longstanding colonial policy concerns undermining the well-being and cultural sustainability of Aboriginal women and their families in Canada, especially First Nations women on reserve affected by Canada’s oppressive, unilaterally imposed Indian Act. Centralizing the perspectives of Aboriginal women academic and legal scholars, we focus our critique on colonial government policy and practice affecting women’s health, access to water and adequate housing, status and identity, and residential schooling and child welfare policy continuing to impact the lives of Aboriginal women and their children living on reserve. Our analysis observes how Indian Act policy approaches affecting various facets of Aboriginal women’s cultural sustainability are interconnected, systemic and institutionalized. The paper calls on Canada to facilitate a way forward that meaningfully honours the original treaty relationship principle of mutual sharing and respect that supports First Nations women’s needs, perspectives, autonomy, and visions in relation to their future sustainability. The paper also advocates a renewed federal commitment to the principles of cultural protection, development, and non-interference, expressed in international human rights instruments relevant to Indigenous women, to which Canada is a party.
|Keywords:||Policy Ecology, Aboriginal Women and Children, Canada|
M.Ed, PhD candidate, Faculty of Education, Brock University, Fonthill, Ontario, Canada
BPE, B.Ed, M.Ed, PhD student, University of Windsor, Fernie, Canada