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‘A Comparative Analysis Of The Effect Of Settler Colonialism On Aboriginal Women And Children In Canada And New Zealand.’

2108 words - 9 pages

The ongoing targeting of Aboriginal Children and Women is a significant impediment to Indigenous development in Canada and the wider world. In this essay I will critically interpret government-led development initiatives in Canada with a comparative analysis of New Zealand. I will address development interventions throughout Canada’s history with a focus on Indigenous women and children with specific reference to Indigenous womens maternities. First I will look at the progression of development interventions by the Canadian state throughout history. Then, I will observe how these systems of oppression have manifested throughout history looking at violence against Aboriginal women and over ...view middle of the document...

Canada was first colonised by the British and French in the early 1600’s when the fur trade was established – one of the first major economic ventures to take place in North America. Eventually, Canada was settled along the great lakes and the relations with the Indigenous people in North America was largely based around trade. Colonialism is often understood as a historical process which ended a long time ago. Yet, I argue that it is a process which pervades history. This becomes evident when one observes the continutation of the displacement of Indigenous knowledge, culture and children throughout history. Colonial power became evident when ‘The Indian Act’ was introduced – a Canadian statute of modern law which was designed to register ‘Indians’, their bands and defined their use of land as ‘Indian Reserves’ which were put in place to ‘define Aboriginal people out of existence,’ (Lawrence: ) and placing Indigenous people on the outskirts of society.
The Indian Residential School System

The policies of colonial violence against Indigenous women and children began in the early 1800s when the colonial government introduced the residential school system. It was presented as a way of ‘educating’ and assimilation the Indigenous population into European settler society. The Indian Residential school system was rationalised through the historical narratives of Western ideas of what it is to be a modern, developed society (Edmonds in Landertinger: 2011). This led to the widespread destruction of integral aspects of Indigenous culture such as language, family structures and religious practises. Although the residential school system ended in the 1980s, the subjugation of indigenous women and children have been reproduced throughout history. For the purposes of this essay, I will focus on how colonial policitics of development have emerged as a fundamentaly gendered project throughout history (Smith: 2011). Furthermore, the targeting of Aboriginal women and childeren by nature has a direct effect on the reproduction of Aboriginal people throughout history.

The Sixties Scoop

The sixties scoop is a term used to describe the practise of taking a large number of Aboriginal children from residential schools and placing them in foster homes or up for adoption, mostly into non-Aboriginal families. This practise began in the 1960’s and continued through til the late 1980’s, during this time it is thought that 20,000 aboriginal children were adopted or placed in foster care. The people who were subject to this programme have openly dicussed their loss of cultural identity, families, and loss of status (Reder: 2007). It is reported, by Johnston that often Aboriginal children were taken from their communities without the consultation or awareness of families. Some reports go on to say that children were even taken from their mothers while they were still infants. An example of this is Richard Cardinal, a metis child who was placed into the foster care system...

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