From the Author's chapter
: "Inﬂuenced by Benedict Anderson’s work on regions, nations, and empires as “imagined communities,” feminist and postcolonial scholars have since argued that regions and nations were imagined in racialized and gendered terms. Images of domestic life were incorporated into late-nineteenth-century ideologies of imperial domination and nation-building. The Canadian west was marketed to potential immigrants as a place of “ fruitful land and happy homes.” As Burnett, Erickson, and de Zwart’s contributions to this volume illustrate, “happy homes” were envisaged as patriarchal, Christian, and White. As was he case in other settler societies and colonial “ frontiers,” the legal and cultural management of sexual arrangements – within Indigenous communities, and between colonized and colonizer – became a critical component in the erection of colonial boundaries. Although the law served as the “cutting edge” of colonialism, Sarah Carter argues that the regulatory power of Canadian marriage law, as applied to First Nations communities, was never certain; it was subject to resistance, manipulation, evasion, and the persistence of Aboriginal law on the part of Aboriginal communities, and legal and moral uncertainty on the part of missionaries, Indian agents, and administrators. By intricately tracing the evolution of federal marriage law in the early years of its application on the Prairies and in British Columbia, Carter highlights how reshaping the gender order lay at the heart of colonial agents’ eﬀorts to refashion Aboriginal societies in their own image." Pg 151-152.
Carter, Sarah. "Complicated and Clouded: the Federal Administration of Marriage and Divorce among the First Nations of Western Canada, 1887 - 1906" In Unsettled Pasts: Reconceiving the West through Women's History. Ed. by Sarah Carter, Lesley Erickson, and Patricia Roome. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2005. 151-178.