Community Breaking/Fracturing

CCF Creates Métis Colonies

Summary

During the 1940s, the CCF created Métis ‘colonies’ at Crooked Lake, Lestock, Crescent Lake, BalJennie, Willow Bunch, Duck Lake, Glen Mary, Green Lake, and Lebret of which contained about 2500 Métis residents. These colonies were introduced by Tommy Douglas’ CCF government as a colonization project that they felt would ‘deal’ with socioeconomic struggles Métis, particularly Métis in the southern part of the province, were facing as a result of westward expansion and land loss. Colonies were intended to integrate and assimilate Métis peoples into western social and economic ideals that embraced the free market and prepared them for settler society. Schools established in Métis colonies were used to prepare Métis children for the ‘workforce,’ instill a community identity that based itself upon the cultural collective (White society), while simultaneously undermining cultural Métis knowledge and identities.

 

Result

Colonies, however, provided very little to ebb the widespread poverty that many Métis at this time experienced, as land, livestock, and resources obtained in the ‘colonies’ were not owned by any Métis. CCF officials rationalized this by believing that the Métis were incapable of caring for themselves or their land. This belief was firstly, unfounded, and second, predicated on years of land dispossession and colonial interference across the prairies that robbed Métis from wealth and resources they formerly had access to. In doing this, the CCF continued to perpetuate the same behaviour as federal agents wherein Métis peoples were disadvantaged and assumed to be ‘incapable.’ 

Barron writes,

“Colonies, as a rehabilitation scheme for the Métis, were entirely in keeping with this thinking because they were seen as a way of making the Métis competitive in mainstream society. By removing the Métis from the road allowances and grouping them into distinct settlements, the government would be able to manipulate the environment to maximize local community development. The understanding was that, if the Métis could not integrate individually, they might do so collectively through the creation of economically viable, self-sustaining communities. Through proper training, self-actualization, and cooperation, they would evolve as a community of farmers contributing to the regional agrarian economy.”

Sources

Barron, F.L., Walking in Indian Moccasins: the native policies of Tommy Douglas and the CCF, 40-50.

 

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Date
1940-00-00

Adopt Indian and Métis Project (AIM)

Summary

Allyson Stevenson writes:

"From 1967 to 1969 [however Scoop policies continued into the 1980s), the province of Saskatchewan piloted the Adopt Indian and Métis Project as a targeted program to increase adoptions of overrepresented native children. The project was funded initially by the federal Department of Health and Welfare to determine if advertising Native children on television, radio and newspapers across southeastern Saskatchewan would induce families to investigate transracial adoption. The piloting of the Adopt Indian and Métis Program in 1967 called for little financial investment and did not require extensive negotiation between federal and provincial governments or a radically new approach to resolving the underlying economic and social factors contributing to increasing numbers of Aboriginal children coming into provincial care.

…not everyone viewed the Adopt Indian Métis ads with such admiration, or agreed that Aboriginal children should be placed white adoptive homes. The Métis Society, located in Saskatoon, undertook a campaign in 1971 to challenge the images utilized in the ads. That year, the Society formed the Métis Foster Home committee, led by Howard Adams and Métis activists Phyllis Trochie, Nora Thibodeau, and Vicki Racette to research the creation of a Métis-controlled foster home program. The group had a list of eleven reasons that the current government-run system was detrimental to children, parents, and the Métis community as a whole. Their objections centred on the lack of acceptance of Métis identity and citizenship by both white foster parents who raised the children and the larger white society in which the children were being raised. They claimed, furthermore, that “Past experience with the welfare department has proven that it is unable to treat Métis people as equal and full citizens and any new foster home plan under the welfare department would continue to be administered in a repressive and discriminatory way.

….The programs and policies that were administered by the Department of Social Services were operated under the paternalistic Euro-Canadian belief that the Child Welfare bureaucracy and family courts alone could interpret the “best interests of the (Indigenous) child.” Métis people in Canada have a long history of child removal, and in Saskatchewan, were the first Indigenous peoples to recognize the genocidal threat of child removal to their future. The recent exclusion of the Métis children from the federal compensation agreement for the Sixties Scoop is reminiscent of Canada’s original disregard for the Métis peoples, which stretches back to 1869 and beyond.”

 

Date
1967-00-00
Region

Sixties Scoop

Summary

The Canadian constitution defined Indians as falling under federal jurisdiction whereas health and family services was provincial jurisdiction. This led to conflicts over who would provide services (and pay for those services) for Indigenous youth and families. The two levels of government resolved this (without consulting Indigenous people) by deciding that provinces would “care” for Indigenous youth in crisis by apprehending them and integrating them into non-Indigenous child and family service programs.  The result is what came to be known as the “Sixties Scoop” where Indigenous children were “scooped” up and adopted into predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families. Despite its name, "Scooping" Indigenous children from their families and communities was not isolated to the 1960s; it extended both before and after the 60s in various forms, some which continue today, and is evident in the disproportionately high rates of Indigenous children caught within the Child Welfare System. 

"It is well-known that Indigenous children are over-represented in both the child protection and justice systems in Saskatchewan and across Canada. Year after year, the deaths and injuries we review are a stark reminder of this dark reality. In 2021, 22 of the 24 deaths (92%) and 23 of the 29 critical injuries/incidents (79%) that came to our attention involved Indigenous children and youth." (Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth, 2021 Annual Report, 34).


Indigenous Children in Care (Child Welfare), 2019

 

 As of 2019, Saskatchewan Social Services Ministry reported that 86% of children in care are Indigenous (Global News). Statistics Canada reported that in 2016, Indigenous peoples represented 16.3% of Saskatchewan's total population (Statistics Canada, Focus on Geography Series, 2016). This demonstrates the wide disparity between rates of Indigenous children in care compared to total population. 


The Sixties Scoop experience left many adoptees with a lost sense of cultural identity. The physical and emotional separation from their birth families continues to affect adult adoptees and Indigenous communities to this day.

In Saskatchewan, particularly in the Northern region of the province, Indigenous children were taken or ‘scooped’ from their communities and relocated generally to non-Indigenous families in settled regions of the province. Through the provincial CCF party (the pre-cursor to the NDP), the scooping and relocation of Indigenous children from their home communities partially occurred because foster homes in the north were deemed incapable of meeting capacity. But of course scooping Indigenous children from their home communities created a social and cultural disconnect that contributed to their assimilation into “Canadian” society, and this was the long-term goal of the Canadian and provincial governments.  Scooping children contributed to assimilation by disconnecting Indigenous youth from their ancestral lands, resources, and livelihoods. Many Indigenous children who were scooped at birth or an early age were not told of their relocation or Indigenous kinship by their adoptive guardians, and only found out later in life.     


Newspaper advertisements for the Adopt Indian and Métis Program, late 1960s, Saskatchewan.


The scooping of Indigenous children dislocated them from their families, communities, and access to culture/culturally relevant upbringing.  It’s important to remember that during the 60s Scoop period Residential Schools were still operating. – Indigenous peoples were continually at risk of violence from early childhood, through their entire adolescent life, and into adulthood as well. For children who were separated from their families in the north sent to southern communities, and Indigenous children from across Canada, there was and often is a sense of cultural disconnect and an inability to find belonging meaningfully both inside and outside of their home communities.

Indigenous parents and their children continue to report ‘scooping’ through child welfare services with further placement into the foster system. For example, scooping through the practice of ‘birth alerts’ wherein hospital staff alerts child welfare services if they deem the child ‘at risk’ from their parents. Parents are not informed of the action nor provide consent for birth alerts. Birth alerts have historically and contemporarily targeted Indigenous mothers who are characterized as unfit or disengaged from their child despite no evidence. They allowed hospital staff to have final authority over who is ‘fit’ to parent a child, and these decisions are often informed by racist and classist assumptions and racial stereotypes.      


See Also: 

 

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Date
1960-00-00

North-West Resistance: Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear) Wrongfully Tried

Summary

Mistahimaskwa and fourteen of his companions were prosecuted in Regina for treason-felony. He did not participate in the conflict and tried to stop hostilities. However, according to the judge, Mistahimaskwa should have left his band at the beginning of the violence. The judge Hugh Richardson sentenced him to three years.


 

Result

While incarcerated, Mistahimaskwa converted to Catholicism. After two years in the Stony Mountain Penitentiary, Mistahimaskwa was released (February, 1887), already ill. On January 17, 1888, he died on the Poundmaker Reserve. Since Mistahimaskwa never had a Reserve, his band became diasporic, dividing into other communities but continuing to maintain kinship ties.


 

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Date
1885-09-25

Brief Introduction to Disease Epidemic/Outbreaks on the Northern Great Plains (including Saskatchewan)

Summary

This essay provides a brief analytical introduction to the impact of colonialism in terms of undermining social determinants of health, thereby contributing to the proliferation of disease epidemics on the Prairies (please see "additional notes" below for bibliography): From 1492 onwards, disease epidemics resulted in Indigenous mortality rates ranging in upwards of eighty five to ninety five percent, causing tremendous suffering and wreaking devastation on the social and political organization of Indigenous nations (Daschuk 2013, 12; Kelton 2007, 37; Sundstrom 1997, 306). Although North America was not completely disease-free prior to Contact, European trade exchanges and practices of colonization introduced sociocultural change and heightened vulnerability to deadly pathogenic infections (Daschuk 2013, 1-2). Currently, the most widely accepted explanation of disease-emergent mortality rates within the disciplines of history, anthropology and archaeology is virgin soil epidemic theory (VSE) (Jones 2009, 197). First argued by Alfred Crosby in The William and Mary Quarterly in 1976, Crosby posits that much like the “virgin soil” of the largely agriculturally uncultivated Americas in 1492, Indigenous populations were inexperienced with the contagious bacteria that Europeans carried (Kelton 2007, 1). This theory, therefore, is used to explain the severity of Indigenous mortality rates as having derived from a lack of developed immunity due to a population’s first exposure to infection or because all members of the community who had been exposed to the disease have died (Daschuk 2013, 11-12).--- Crosby’s focus on biology is problematic, however, in its invisibilization of factors like nutrition, methods of subsistence, migration patterns and trade practices, thus ignoring the impacts of colonialism and capitalism in terms of altering these variables through land invasion and dispossession as well as sociopolitical disruption of Indigenous nations (Kelm 1998, 55; Kelton 2007, 1). To illustrate, as it relates to Saskatchewan, archaeological evidence dating to the 1670s reveals that the fur trade had already begun to shape the Northern Great Plains region, and that less than one hundred years later, the introduction of commercial hunting practices had resulted in a shortage of fur-bearing animals along the North Saskatchewan river, as reported by HBC employees (Daschuk 2013, 11). Although Europeans perceived Indigenous diets to be a cause of disease, in truth, the high-protein and nutrient-rich diets of Indigenous peoples had provided them with relatively stable health for millennia, particularly in comparison to their European counterparts. The erosion of these diets, therefore, in addition to the introduction of European nutrient-poor foods such as flour and sugar, increasingly contributed to their susceptibility to disease, particularly after the near-extinction of the buffalo in 1870 (Kelm 1998, 36; Kelton 2007, 2; Daschuk 2013, 10).--- The VSE theory also neglects to acknowledge the motives of colonial actors in terms of acquisition of land and wealth, thus exercising detachment from the moral sphere and reinforcing western imperialism by affirming the superiority of positivism and rejection of metaphysical discussions of morality. In fact, Daschuk writes “the spread of foreign diseases among highly susceptible populations comprised a tragic, unforeseen, but largely organic change. Those who place human agency and greed and the expansionism of colonial powers at the centre of the decline of indigenous nations in the western hemisphere are missing half of the story; the role played by biology cannot be ignored” (pages xv-xvi). And yet, Daschuk uses the majority of his book to argue the predominant role of pathogenic factors in Indigenous rates of mortality. While there is validity to VSE as it relates to the role of a lack of immunological defences, as a philosophical perspective, positivism is highlighted by Indigenous scholars like Linda Tuhiwai Smith as being closely interconnected to imperialism and one means through which colonizing nations assert their superiority over Indigenous peoples. By choosing to perceive disease epidemics primarily in impersonal and positivistic terms, VSE perpetuates the western imperialist scientific detachment of European medicine (Kelm 1998, xvi-xviii; Smith 2012, 92-116; Daschuk 2013, xvi).--- Aside from these flaws, it is ahistorical and anachronistic to impose a biological model such as VSE on non-Indigenous understandings of the severity of disease epidemics on Indigenous people. This applies both before, during and after the period of 1870-1906, an important transitional time frame for the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Saskatchewan marked by the near-extinction of the buffalo, the numbered treaty era, the establishment of the settler state, the introduction of residential schools (framed as “Indian education” within the Indian Act) and the beginning of significant settler encroachment. The era of 1870-1906 is also marked by the introduction of medical care to Indigenous peoples. Yet, the provision of medical access was delayed in comparison to that offered to non-Indigenous peoples, resulting from colonial attitudes in which Indigenous people were largely blamed for their own pathologies. That is, there existed a prevailing belief that the supposed cultural backwardness of Indigenous people, when combined with their physical weakness, were determinants that encouraged sickness and would eventually lead to their extinction (Daschuk 2013, x; Kelm 1998, xvi & 101-6). The widespread acceptance by non-Indigenous interlopers of the gradual and unavoidable disappearance of Indigenous nations had generated a broadly-accepted belief in the futility of offering medical aid (Jones 2004, 139; Kelm 1998, xv-xvii & 100). Disease epidemics were therefore seen as a natural result of this ethnic inferiority, after which non-Indigenous colonial actors would exploit the losses of Indigenous people by apprehending newly depopulated territories and assets (Lux 2001, 13; Jones 2004, 2-3).--- For example, although written records indicate the occasional speculation of colonists regarding the role of Europeans in contributing to the deaths of Indigenous populations, for the most part, health disparity rationalization explicitly reinforced ethnic hierarchies through portrayals of Indigenous peoples as possessing enhanced genetic susceptibility to the contraction of diseases. Other common rationalizations include victim-blaming references to uncivilized behaviors and/or detrimental individual choice - reflecting a tendency of Euro-Canadians to moralize and pathologize Indigenous people and their actions. To illustrate, one example of the Crown’s assimilatory logic is that it was the laziness or “indolence” of agriculturally-averse, migratory Indigenous peoples that led to poverty and slovenliness, and in turn, disease. To discipline a perceived tendency towards “work-avoidance”, the government exercised tight economic control over reserves, including minimal food rations. On many reserves, the government broke treaty promises to provide aid, farming implements and livestock - resources that would have prevented malnourishment, illness and death. Before and after the creation of the Canadian state, however, the states of physical and psychological stress caused by intense malnutrition and starvation, geographical displacement, crowded reserve living conditions, the questioning of spiritual beliefs and the loss of community leaders, Elders and family members all enhanced vulnerability to disease and diminished chances of recovery (Lux 2001, 4 & 20-59; Jones 2003).--- Historic and contemporary explanations of disease pathologies are not transformed into neutral or objective facts by virtue of the use of scientific rhetoric. Rather, philosophical biases and racial ideologies of authors are revealed in the utility of the health disparity theories in question, particularly in relationship to preserving or dismantling the social, economic and political privileges and advantages accorded to non-Indigenous people within colonial states (Jones 2004, 3 & 7; Lux 2001, 13). As previously discussed, explanations such as those used by the government to justify assimilation fail to de-centre the inevitability or justifiability of colonialism, and neglect the impact of colonial and capitalistic systems on Indigenous lifeways, including the means through which personal autonomy and choice were constrained through the sociocultural breakdown of Indigenous nations, and later, through policies of assimilation (Jones 2003, 3 & 41-3 & 83 & 134-5 & 223-4; Kelm 1998, 39; Lux 2001, 151).

Sub Event
Essay reflects a compilation of the most current interdisciplinary scholarship on this topic.
Date
0000-00-00

Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Indigenous Women, Girls, 2-Spirit, and Transgender people

Summary

Indigenous survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking, community activists, and scholars document that coercion and deception are means of forcing Indigenous women, girls, 2-Spirit, and transgender people into survival sex work. In Saskatchewan, Saskatoon is considered a significant part of the transit corridor used within the Prairies to expedite trafficking of gender marginalized Indigenous peoples. Notably, sex trafficking of gender marginalized Indigenous people in Canada is so pervasive that it has not only received international news coverage (CNN - Canada's Stolen Daughters, attached Resources), the Canadian government has received international criticism from the U.S. government, national organizations (Native Women's Association of Canada), and international non-governmental organizations (the United Nations and the Canadian Women's Foundation).

Survivors of sex trafficking, community activists and scholars have discussed factors which increase the vulnerability of Indigenous women, girls, 2-spirit, and transgender people into trafficking. Experiences of abuse/violence; limited supervision; substance use/misuse; proximity to foster care; educational absence on information related to sexuality, contraception and pregnancy, models of healthy platonic and romantic relationships; overall lack of access to education; familial and communal residential/day school attendance, intergenerational trauma; housing insecurity and/or a lack of rental history; unemployment and job insecurity; a lack of culturally-appropriate support services (mental and spiritual health, medical, etc.); an absence of support networks (family/friends); having resided in a rural, northern or other isolated area where there may be a lack of infrastructure such as sewer, electrical or water services; lacking access to basic necessities for survival; and gang involvement. Many, if not all of these factors of vulnerability are linked to the settler colonial policies and beliefs which continue to oppress gender marginalized peoples.

In the aforementioned CNN Article "Canada's Stolen Daughters," Diane Redsky, who runs the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre in Winnipeg (a Centre which engages in anti-trafficking advocacy work and runs a healing lodge) was interviewed. She commented:  "We're still in a society that targets Indigenous women and girls. In fact the national task force concluded that there's a market for Indigenous girls" (par. 28).

The psychological and physical impacts of sexual exploitation and trafficking are described in the literature review and analysis released by the Native Women's Association of Canada, titled, "Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls":

"What can be gathered from looking at the span of the above statistics, both the 2005 and 2011, is that there is a solid continuation of traumatic and damaging experiences that Aboriginal women and girls experience both prior to being trafficked and in the life of being trafficked for sexual acts. Unfortunately, experiences of violence, various forms of abuse, and trauma seem to be very consistent and prevalent within human trafficking. One of the defining characteristics of Farley et al’s research is the examination of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in prostituted and sexually trafficked women. PTSD consists of three types of symptoms: persistent, intrusive re-introducing of trauma; numbing of responsiveness and persistent avoidance of stimuli of trauma; and persistent autonomic heightened arousal. Those who participated in the study completed an evaluation of criteria for PTSD. In a 2005 paper examining prostituted and trafficked women, out of the one hundred participants, including both First Nations and non-First Nations, 72% qualified for PTSD, which is 'among the highest reported in populations where PTSD has been studied, including battered women, combat veterans, childhood trauma survivors, rape survivors, and torture survivors' (Farley, Lynne, & Cotton, 2005, p. 255) . Those who are prostituted and sexually trafficked often experience extreme and intentional violence, abuse and torture. It is no surprise that these women and girls fulfill the criteria for PTSD. Such evidence suggests the difficulty of trying to move on from sexual exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution. It is a deeply traumatic experience that impacts on one’s physical self, the mental, and the emotional" (pages 10-11).

This excerpt from the Globe and Mail contains the testimony of a sex trafficking survivor as to the long-lasting impacts of PTSD in terms of her ability to function:

"But even if there is no physical evidence, illness and violence are so pervasive that, eventually, “trafficking will produce a health consequence,” says Tara Wilkie of the Surrey Memorial forensic team. Patients are provided with support after leaving the hospital, but Ms. Wilkie says the after-effects of trafficking can leave someone with lifelong physical and mental-health issues. Bridget Perrier seems to be living proof of this. As she sits on the couch of her Toronto home, phone buzzing, two dogs scampering around, pictures of her children on the wall, her old life seems like the distant past. Yet, she says, a decade of sexual exploitation “damaged me to a point where ... I have panic attacks. I have PTSD. I can’t have a baby naturally because my cervix is just shot. I sleep with the lights on. I’m hypervigilant. And there are flashbacks. “Sometimes a smell will set me off, gagging.” Pine-Sol, used to disinfect the rooms, “triggers it.” As do “certain male colognes, certain deodorants.” Also damaged: her relationship with others. She says her clientele was so predominantly white that, even today 'I can’t be on an elevator with a Caucasian man'" (pars. 85-90).

Regarding solutions for recovery from post-traumatic symptoms, including PTSD, the Native Women's Association of Canada literature review and analysis notes:

"Many who are sexually exploited and trafficked come from backgrounds where formal education and job skill development have been compromised from traumatic childhoods and growing up in abuse. To help these women and youth escape the cycle of sexual exploitation, they need training in viable alternatives for income. It is not enough to protect women and girls from pimps and traffickers; the conditions of growing up in poverty and without a full education must also be addressed for lasting difference" (page 25).

Bluntly put, one participant phrased it aptly: ’People don’t heal overnight. It took seventeen years to get all the shit inside of you and it’s probably going to take twenty years to get it out of you’ (p. 36). Quick-healing regimens are unrealistic. Healing takes time, and sexual exploitation is a violent, oppressive, and damaging process. In a 2003 study on sexual exploitation with some 854 participants, their findings were that prostitution was multi- traumatic, with 68% meeting the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (Farley, et al., 2003, p. 34), which, also happens to match the same range of PTSD as combat veterans (Weathers, Litz, Herman, Huska, & Keane, 1993, as cited in Farley, et al., 2003, p. 37). If prostitution is categorized as choice and trafficked as forced, it may be that trafficked women are dealing with even more PTSD." (page 29).


 

Result

Gender discrimination and sexualization of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, Transgender and Non-Binary people, is deeply embedded in the foundation of Canadian policy, society, and consciousness.  That is, stereotypical gendered narratives were constructed by colonizers that depicted Indigenous peoples as morally inferior and culturally uncivilized - including a predisposition to extreme sexuality (this was the underlying rationale for gender segregation in the Indian Residential School system). 

Settler Colonists viewed Indigenous 'sexuality' as a threat that needed to be subdued, and another area in which they could assert dominance and control over Indigenous lives. Early on in the period of Contact with Europeans, Indigenous women, much like the "virgin" soil of North America, were perceived as available for possession by white, European men. These tropes of availability, in combination with stereotypes which constructed Indigenous women as exotic and erotic, asserted that Indigenous women were incapable of consenting (always available to the Colonial sexual appetite) and therefore inherently inviolable.

In addition to social marginalization enforced through colonialism, narratives construct Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, and Transgender people as sexually disposable which creates a significant degree of proximity to violence.  Aforementioned experiences of social marginalization include, but are not limited to: the mass apprehension of Indigenous children by child and family services, low-income caused by isolation from resources, cultural activities and lifeways, and economic discrimination, housing insecurity, employment insecurity, and limited access to education.  

Annette Sikka, in the conference paper "Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls in Canada," writes:

"..[T]he terms 'control' and 'exploitation' have been interpreted by the justice system in the context of trafficking offences also do not adequately reflect the types of coercion and exploitation that Aboriginal women or girls in street-based sex work face. It has been difficult to have the criminal justice system recognize non-physical forms of coercion in trafficking analyses because the criminal law focuses only on the immediate actions of individuals." (220).  

Actors within the legal system frequently lack a sufficient understanding of the ways in which gender-marginalized Indigenous peoples experience coercion and deception.  This serves to reinforce individualistic narratives which depict participation in the survival sex work as a matter of personal choice to participate in a "high-risk lifestyle." Yet it obscures elements of social and political marginalization which pressure gender-marginalized people into survival sex work. E.g., coercion or deception by others (the promise of money, protection, security, or substances).

This is not to say that sex workers or sex work is inherently violent or deviant, nor should sex workers be criminalized. Rather, that the social, gendered, sexual, and financial inequities established by Canadian settler colonialism have enabled traffickers to take advantage of the precarious social and economic situations many Indigenous women, girls, and other gender marginalized people find themselves in. Trafficking and exploitation is driven by the desire to fulfill settler sexual fantasies and maintain oppressive power structures.


 

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Date
Ongoing

Living Conditions on La Ronge Reserve - 1950s-70s

Summary

In the interview included, participant Liora Salter reports that she observed that the living and social conditions on the reserve in centre of the La Ronge townsite were extremely deteriorated. Ms. Salter describes the lack of infrastructure on the reserve for basic utilities including sewer, electricity and water provisions. She notes that the houses on-reserve were "the oldest generation of Indian Affairs houses" with one room and newspaper serving as wallpaper. Incidentally, Ms. Salter references Metis activist and La Ronge resident Jim Brady's suspicions that the Department of Indian Affairs officials in La Ronge was deeply corrupt, and incapable of enacting the type of change that was needed.

Ms. Salter also references Mr. Brady's concerns that Indigenous girls, as young as thirteen, were being forced into sex trafficking. The interview with La Ronge resident Verna Richards provides first-hand testimony of the occurrence of sex trafficking. While Ms. Richards believes that she observed this as an isolated incident, the reporting of Mr. Brady indicated otherwise - and it is possible that sex trafficking occurred in locales other than Ms. Richard's restaurant. Mr. Brady stated that this was a result of the tourism industry in La Ronge.

Ms. Richards also testifies as to the prevalence of sexual assault of Indigenous girls and women by American tourists who visited the community of La Ronge. She reports that there were a number of pregnancies that resulted from these assaults. She reports that this was met with little response from both the non-Indigenous community and the parents of the girls who were assaulted and/or became pregnant. She does not mention anything about post-assault psychological support/trauma services or other mental health services in the community. Nor does she mention any of the American tourists providing child support.

Implications
There may be many factors contributing to the disparities in living conditions in La Ronge in the time frames referenced in these interviews. The isolation of Northern Saskatchewan results in its invisibility to voters in larger city centres, such as Saskatoon and Regina. As well, the majority of the province is non-Indigenous, and historically, racism has affected the visibility of and concern for Indigenous issues within Saskatchewan. That is, racist colonial attitudes depict Indigenous peoples as resistant to acquiring 'improved' material conditions. Indigenous people who choose to live in remote areas such as Northern Saskatchewan are constructed under this colonial narrative as resistant to processes of integration/assimilation and modernity. Mr. Brady also referenced the presence of corruption within the representation of the Department of Indian Affairs in La Ronge, prohibiting the improvement of living conditions. Insufficient housing and a lack of access to infrastructure services such as electricity, sewer and water (all of which are considered standard services for residents of Canada) can effect psychological and physical well-being, over time the effects of substandard housing and healthcare can negatively impact a person's well-being in all areas of their life.

The lack of response amongst non-Indigenous residents of La Ronge demonstrates the normalization of sexual violence inflicted upon Indigenous women, stemming from stereotypical patriarchal colonial narratives which construct Indigenous women as being highly sexual and thus always sexually available to the colonist. As well, it is possible that the economic stimulus provided by the presence of American tourists was perceived as more valuable than preserving and protecting the well-being of Indigenous women and girl as community members. The profound sense of violation and trauma that result from assault and rape can severely impact one's ability to function, particularly if mental health supports or social/community supports are unavailable. For example, long-term impacts can include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, difficulty relating to others, low self-esteem, alcohol/drug misuse, etc. (please see the entry by the Native Women's Association of Canada below in attached resources titled "Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls: Literature Review and Key Informant Interviews: Final Report"). In areas where mental health services are non-existence or rare, other coping mechanisms that pose a danger to health may be utilized.

For further information on the impact of colonialism as it relates to construction of gendered stereotypes of Indigenous women and girls and how this contributes to sexualization and exploitation, please see the entry on sexualization of Indigenous girls in foster care. Please also see the general entry titled "Sexual exploitation and trafficking of Indigenous women and girls" for further information for a more detailed discussion on the impacts of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Sources

Please also see the general entry titled "Sexual exploitation and trafficking of Indigenous women and girls" for further information for a more detailed discussion on the impacts of sexual exploitation and trafficking.  

Sub Event
Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Indigenous Girls in La Ronge following the introduction of American Tourism
Date
1950-00-00

Metis Community at Batoche

Summary

The settlement at Batoche was a manifestation of the impact of the 1870 Red River Resistance - not only were Metis families being crowded out by the influx of white settlers in Manitoba, but they were also experiencing repeated government delays in procuring their land following ongoing amendments to the Manitoba Act. As a result, many traveled further west. There was continued unrest in the Batoche area as the Metis were not assured that their land rights or long and narrow river lots would be recognized in deeds of fee simple ownership. Although the majority of Metis in Batoche were hunters, traders, trappers, fur traders, freighters and stock raisers, they also engaged in small-scale, garden-type farming for their own sustenance. With the near-extinction of the buffalo by incoming settlers and significant reductions in the fur-bearing animal population, as well as concerns that their seasonal work would render their land cultivation illegitimate, the Metis were forced to transition to large-scale agriculture. Eventually, the government did fail to recognize Metis land claims, leading to the Riel Resistance of 1885, and the Battle of Batoche. All community members participated in preparation for the battle - while men were engaged on the front lines, women provided the supplies of ammunition and food which ensured that combat strategies could be administered, and, on occasion, even challenged and convinced Riel to change his plan of action. When the Metis army was defeated, the settlement members were forced to flee, and were not able to take their personal items with them. Although General Middleton had promised the Metis security and protection, the members of the Canadian army pillaged the Metis farms and stole or slaughtered livestock, leaving community members destitute. Although twelve men died as a result of the battle, nine women died of causes linked to or aggravated by the suffering and deprivation of the war.

Implications
Following the Battle of Batoche, it was Metis women, upheld as the transmitters and preservers of Metis culture, who would rebuild the community. Although they made application to the Rebellion Losses Commission for financial compensation, patronage and nepotism, as well as class prejudice, negatively influenced the final dispensation of funds. In many cases, women whose claims of loss or non-participation were denounced by others were dismissed - demonstrating gendered and racialized differentials of credibility and power accorded to different colonial actors. Many families found it difficult to financially recover. The financial loss compounded the adversities women experienced from widowhood and separation from husbands imprisoned for their participation in the resistance, emigration, and exile. Please see the excerpts below in "relevant resources" for further information.
Sub Event
Battle of Batoche (1885)
Date
1870-00-00
Community

Women on Onion Lake Reserve Essential to Community Survival

Summary

The role of Indigenous women on Onion Lake Reserve in the late 19th century was paramount to the success of the reserve during their struggle with famine and disease. It was the perseverance of the Cree women that kept the spirit alive in their community. Their strong work ethic and refusal to give up spread hope throughout the community and helped everyone to remain focused in their work. The women kept the Cree culture and traditions alive in a time where their survival was uncertain. The women on the Onion Lake Reserve performed additional labour to ensure that their community was cared for and prospered through famines caused by settler immigration into the Plaines.

Implications
The perseverance of the Cree women on the Onion Lake Reserve demonstrates the important and often undocumented role that Indigenous women played in their communities. Without the will of the Cree women, the survival of the Onion Lake Reserve is uncertain. These women vehemently resisted the societal pressures to be domesticated, and instead they took control of their communities when others could see no way of survival. They defied European gender norms by taking on many hunting and gathering duties that European society tried to associate only with men. By standing their ground these women were able to preserve their community and culture despite governmental attempts to dismantle it.
Date
1880

Anti-Polygamy Laws Imposed by the Federal Government

Summary

With the emergence of settler society, many of the social norms of Indigenous groups became seen as morally corrupt, or deviant. The idea of polygamous marriages was foreign to European settlers, was a stark contrast to the Christian marital norms and common law monogamy. Government actors took it upon themselves to discourage the practice of polygamy and eventually entrenched it in law by 1890. It was important for settlers to reinforce the idea of traditional, European, monogamous marriage because they feared it was being disintegrated by the industrial revolution and was a marker for 'de-civilization.' The arrival of the Mormons in the late 1800s further escalated fears held by the state, triggering them to take action against the practice of polygamous marriages.


 

Result

By passing an anti-polygamy law, it left many Indigenous women in vulnerable positions. It was determined by most ministers which wife was allowed to remain married to her husband. To ensure that the system was fair, they almost always chose the first wife to remain legally married to her Indigenous husband. This was problematic because often times the first wife was the oldest, and any children she may have had would also be older. This resulted in many young Indigenous women being left in dangerous situations because of their young ages and inability to care for their young children on their own. It also interfered with the traditional way of life in many Indigenous communities. Taking multiple wives was seen by the settler colonists as a form of abuse, but in some Indigenous communities it was done out of necessity and with the approval of the other wives. A household with multiple wives in the family meant that there were more people to help with the daily chores, care for children, direct labour, and offered a strong support system. It was  assumed by settler colonists that polygamous marriages was based on sexual desire and subjugated wives, when in fact the wives almost always consented prior to a new wife being married into the household. By newly isolation Indigenous women from these arrangements, many of them lost their shared families, support systems, and partners.


 

Sources
  • Beaman, Lori G. "Church, State and the Legal Interpretation of Polygamy in Canada." Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 8, no. 1 (2004): 20-38. 
  • Rutherdale, Myra, and Katie Pickles. Contact Zones: Aboriginal and Settler Women in Canada's Colonial past. 2005. 

 

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Date
1890-02-04