Canaries in the mines of citizenship: Indian women in Canada


Excerpt from Author's Introduction, Page 717:

"This article explores the concept of citizenship in relation to certain Aboriginal women, whose membership in First Nations is subject to Canadian federal legislation and First Nations constitutions and membership codes. In the struggle for decolonization, Aboriginal peoples use the language of rights—rights to self-determination, and claims of fundamental human rights. The state has injected its limited policy of ‘‘self-government’’ into this conversation, characterized by the federal government’s preference for delegating administrative powers to Indian Act bands. Since the 1985 Indian Act revisions, bands have been able to control their membership. Where prior to 1985 the federal government implemented sexist, racist legislation determining band membership, now some bands have racist, sexist membership codes. In both cases, the full citizenship capacity of affected Aboriginal women, in either the colonial state or in First Nations, is impaired. The bands in question resist criticism by invoking rights claims and traditional practices; the federal government washes its hands in deference to self-government. The rights claims of affected women are scarcely acknowledged, much less addressed. Meanwhile, their citizenship in both dominant and Aboriginal communities is negotiated with the realities of colonialism, racism and sexism. Their experience demonstrates the limitations of citizenship theory and of Canadian citizenship guarantees." (717).

Publication Information

Green, Joyce. "Canaries in the mines of citizenship: Indian women in Canada." Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 34, no. 4 (2001): 715-738.

Green, Joyce
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