First Voices: An Aboriginal Women’s Reader
edited by Patricia A. Monture and Patricia D. McGuire

Print: 978-0-9808822-9-2
ePUB: 978-1-9267084-2-3
PDF: 978-1-7713302-3-7

556 Pages
November 01, 2009
Non-Fiction Academic All Titles

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First Voices: An Aboriginal Women’s Reader edited by Patricia A. Monture and Patricia D. McGuire

A collection of articles that examine many of the struggles that Aboriginal women have faced, and continue to face, in Canada. Sections include: Profiles of Aboriginal Women; Identity; Territory; Activism; Confronting Colonialism; the Canadian Legal System; and Indigenous Knowledges. Photographs and poetry are also included. There are few books on Aboriginal women in Canada; this anthology provides a valuable addition to the literature and fills a critical gap in the fields of Native Studies, Cultural Studies and Women’s Studies.

 

Prior to her death in 2010, Patricia A. Monture, Aye-wah-han-day, a citizen of the Mohawk Nation, Grand River Territory (near Brantford, Ontario),  was a mother, sister and auntie. Since 1994, she was employed at the University of Saskatchewan. as a full professor in the Department of Sociology where she was also the academic director of the Aboriginal Justice and Criminology Program. Her research interests included crime, law and justice studies; the rights of Aboriginal peoples and a deep commitment to equality rights for women. She published numerous papers and several books. In 2008, in acknowledgement of her commitment of women’s activism in the university, she received the Sarah Shorten Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers and an honourary doctorate of laws from Athabasca University. In 2009, she received an honourary ll.d. from Queen’s University. Her award-winning publications include Thunder in My Soul and Journeying Forward: Dreaming First Nations Independence.

Patricia D. McGuire, Kishebakabaykwe Bizhiw indoodem, is a mother and grandmother. She is citizen of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek but shared summers as a child with her relatives at Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek in Ontario. She has worked with Anishinaabek communities developing and teaching in post-secondary education programs for more than twenty years. Patricia is on leave from Negahneewin which is located at Confederation College in Thunder Bay Ontario. She teaches in the area of Indigenous Studies, law, sociology and development. She is currently working on a Canadian Institute of Health Research grant dealing with Aboriginal resilience in Canada with ciet. She is a Ph.D. student at the University of Saskatchewan. Her thesis work is on developing social theory and Indigenous knowledge from her home territory.


Contributors:

Valerie Alia is the author of Names and Nunavut: Culture and Identity in Arctic Canada (2007) and The New Media Nation: Indigenous Peoples and Global Communication (2009). She is Adjunct Professor in the Doctor of Social Sciences Programme at Royal Roads University (bc), former Running Stream Professor of Ethics and Identity at Leeds Metropolitan University (uk) and inaugural Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture at Western Washington University.

Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez is an Indigenous Zapotect from Oaxaca, Mexico and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

Kim Anderson is the author of A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood (Sumach Press, 2000) and the co-editor, with Bonita Lawrence, of Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival (Sumach Press, 2003).

Emerance Baker, Cayuga/Mohawk-Hungarian, is the mother of four wonderful children. She currently works with Indigenous youth at the University of Waterloo’s Aboriginal Services Office. Emerance’s field of study was in Social Sciences specializing in community-based research ethics and methodology. Emerance’s work in the field of women’s health and community-based research with Cancer Care Ontario, the Cancer Survivors and Healing Arts Pilot Project in Newfoundland, and with the cihr Aboriginal Women’s Cancer Care Project out of Wilfrid Laurier University allowed her to work extensively with First Nations communities across Canada.

Elizabeth Bastien is a member of Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation. She joined the Native Women’s Association of Canada in 2006 to work on the mrp initiative following the completion of her Master’s in public policy from Simon Fraser University. Elizabeth is currently working on NWAC’s Sisters in Spirit initiative.

Renee E. Mzinegiizhigo-kwe Bedard is Anishinaabe, marten clan and a member of Dokis First Nation in northern Ontario. As an Anishinaabe woman academic, she pursues issues and topics that are important to Anishinaabeg women and the Anishinaabeg community. She holds a B.A. from Nipissing University, an M.A. from Trent University and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies at Trent University.

Prior to joining Rama Mnjikaning Nation, Nora (Bothwell) Sawyer was Chief of the Alderville First Nation for seven of the nine years between 1987 and 1995. In her position as Director of Health and Social Services, Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Nora Sawyer has overseen the implementation and growth of a number of successful health initiatives. She has held a number of senior administrative and political posts throughout her working life and continues to be a champion for the Aboriginal community in health and community matters.

Carrie Bourassa is Métis and belongs to the Riel Métis Council of Regina. She is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Health Studies in the Department of Science at the First Nations University of Canada. Dr. Bourassa’s research interests include the effects of colonization on the health of Aboriginal people, the health of Aboriginal women, culturally competent health care and Aboriginal community-based heatlh research methodology.

Michelle Cameron is a Dakelh-ne (Carrier) First Nations two-spirited woman. She completed her Master of Social Work in 2007, and is currently working as an analyst for the federal government. Her research interests include two-spirit/lgbqtti issues, Indigenous feminist discourse, counter-hegemonic thought, and Indigenous forms of resistance and protest. This paper was originally presented at Cornell University’s “Quotidian Queerness” conference in Ithaca, New York on April 29-30, 2005.

Joane Cardinal-Schubert passed away on September 17, 2009, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Although best known for her paintings and installations, Cardinal-Schubert, throughout her long and successful career, engaged in an range of other activities such as curator, writer, lecturer, poet, and activist for First Nations artists and individuals engaged in the struggle for Native sovereignty.  Her painting and installation practice is prominent for its incisive evocation of contemporary First Nations experiences and examination of the imposition of EuroAmerican religious, educational, and governmental systems upon Aboriginal people. She was a lobbyist for the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry (scana) and an outspoken advocate of Native causes.

Kaaren Olsen Dannemann (Ma’iinkan) is an Anishinaapekwe from Namekosipiink (Trout Lake) in Northern Ontario. She is a mother of three and a grandmother of five precious little ones. Her life is instrinsically connected to her homeland, her family and her community. She is a trapper and a trapper instructor and manages a camp for Aboriginal youth and children as well as offering other land-based trainings and activities. She works tirelessly to keep traditional culture and knowledge alive for the next generations, with language classes, trips to the trap line, games, ceremonies and special events and gatherings. Kaaren is a strong anti-racism worker and has developed partnerships with non-Aboriginal people and organizations to conduct de-colonizing / undoing racism workshops. She is committed to peace and justice and is part of several international efforts that support Indigenous peoples’ struggles for recognition of rights to land, language, culture, and economies.

Doreen Demas was born and spent her early years living in her home community of Canupawakpa Dakota nation, but has made Winnipeg her home for many years. She attained a degree in Social Work from the University of Manitoba, and is the current Director of the First Nations DisAbility Association of Manitoba. She has been actively involved in the disability community for more than two decades. She has worked with First Nations organizations, provincial and federal governments, and persons with disabilities as a consultant, policy analyst, and writer on issues related to disability, in areas such as health and poverty. She participated in the Canada Aboriginal Peoples’ Round Table sessions where she contributed in the areas of healthcare, education, employment ,and housing from a disability perspective. Of late, she freelances and is working  with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the First Nations Education Resource Centre on their disability services’ model for on-reserve First Nations children and adults with disabilities and their families.An award winner, she has published and spoken nationally and internationally on disability issues. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs and two cats, and is involved in rescue programs and shelters for animals.

Patti Doyle-Bedwell
is a Mi’kmaq woman. She was a member of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) for five years and has presented on topics such as Aboriginal women’s issues such as custody, access, housing, politics, discrimination, employment equity, education, and health. She was president of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women where she developed community partnerships and made many public/media presentations on Aboriginal women’s issues. She currently directs the Transition Year Program at Dalhousie University College of Continuing Education in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has two law degrees.

Apryl Gladue is of Cree and English/Dutch descent and makes her life in Edmonton, Alberta, with her husband, Lorne, and their children and step-children. She is a member of the Woodland Cree First Nation. She obtained her law degree from the University of Alberta in 1998 and works for Justice Canada as a Solicitor in the Aboriginal Law Section. She is part of various government committees focused on reconciliation and Aboriginal employment issues. She is also a published short-story writer.

Agnes Grant worked for Brandon University for 28 years as a professor and administrator for off-campus programs on reserves and Hutterite colonies. She edited and authored several professional books, including Our Bit of Truth, No End of Grief  and Finding My Talk. She also wrote a novel, May There Be No Sadness of Farewell, which will be published posthumously in fall of 2009.

Mary Hampton is a Professor of Psychology at Luther College, University of Regina. She is also a faculty member of spheru (Saskatchewan Health and Evaluation Research Unit) and Saskatchewan Academic Coordinator of resolve (Research and Education for Solutions to Violence and Abuse). Her research interests include: end of life care with Aboriginal families, anti-violence feminist research, and sexual health.

Maura Hanrahan, Ph.D., is an independent anthropologist who works with Indigenous people’s organizations in several provinces and at the national level. A Newfoundlander of English, Irish, French, and Mi’kmaq ancestry, Maura is a member of the Sip’kop Mi’kmaq Band, St. Alban’s, Newfoundland. She is the author or editor of ten books in several genres. Her latest book is Spirit and Dust: Meditations for Women with Depression (2009). Maura is also an award-winning painter. Her website is <www.maurahanrahan.com>.

Anita Olsen Harper is a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. Her dissertation (in progress) is on the interpretation of resilience in the context of domestic violence in Aboriginal communities. She is Ojibwaa from the Lac Seul First Nation, Ontario and lives in Ottawa with her husband, former mp Elijah Harper.

Beverley Jacobs is past President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (2004-2009).

Garry Klugie is the happy father of three girls and step-father of two girls. He has taught in b.c. public schools for over 16 years and in b.c. First Nations schools over the last eight years. He has just completed a five-year term as founding Principal and Senior Secondary teacher for the Skeetchestn Community School in b.c. He is planning on relocating back to his Burns Lake home with his wife Teanne and hopes to return to regular classroom teaching, to writing, and to playing with family.

Rosemarie Kuptana is Past President of the Inuit Tapirisat of canada.

Winona LaDuke, an Ojibway from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, is an activist, environmentalist, economist, and writer. She is currently the Executive Director of both Honor the Earth and White Earth Land Recovery Project.

Laura E. Lagendyk is employed in the Knowledge Management Department of Alberta Health Services.

Carole Leclair is a Red River Métis, graduate of York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, and Associate Professor of Contemporary Studies/Indigenous Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford. Leclair is one of the increasing numbers of Indigenous women who come late to a university career. She combines many years of grassroots activism within the Métis Women’s Circle with a love of the exchange of ideas in academia. She celebrates the opportunities to carry Indigenous cultural knowledge to its hallowed halls. Leclair is the current coordinator of the Indigenous Studies Program at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford.

Brenda McLeod is currently a Ph.D. student at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba. Her past research includes a land use and occupancy study of one First Nation and the Settler population in the Witchekan Lake area of Saskatchewan as well as land claims research. Her current research project explores sustainability from First Nations perspectives in Saskatchewan through community-based research with treaty land entitlement communities.

Deborah McGregor
is Anishinaabe from Whitefish River First Nation. She is currently Associate Professor in Aboriginal Studies and Geography at the University of Toronto. She is the mother of two boys and currently lives in Toronto. She holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, a Master of Environmental Studies from York University and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry. She has been an educator and trainer at both the university and community levels and have been involved in curriculum development, research and teaching. For two decades, her focus is on Indigenous knowledge in relation to the environment.

Sharon D. McIvor is a member of the Lower Nicola Indian Band. She graduated from the University of Victoria Law School in 1986 and is a currently an ll.m candidate at Queen’s University Faculty of Law in Kingston, Ontario. She is a practicing and active member of the Bar of British Columbia; Counsel to the “Coalition” Intervenants, O’Connor v. Her Majesty, at the Supreme Court of Canada; Justice Coordinator for the Native Women’s Association of Canada; and a member of the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee to the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada.

M. Céleste McKay is a Métis woman from Manitoba. She has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba, a ll.b. degree from the University of Victoria and a ll.m. from the University of Ottawa that focused on the international right to health of Indigenous women in Canada.Céleste has worked in the areas of human rights, policy, research and advocacy work, primarily on behalf of Indigenous women’s organizations. She is the Director of Human Rights and International Affairs for the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Her greatest source of joy is her son, Evan Raoul Chartrand.

Kim Mckay-McNabb is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the First Nations University of Canada in the Deaprtment of Science. She is currenlty completing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Unviersity of Regina. Her research interests include include assisting in creating culturally competent care in health, specifically in mental health; Aboriginal community-based health reasearch methodology; Aboriginal peoples and hiv/aids; Aboriginal sexual health and Aboriginal people’s health. Kim is a First Nations woman who is a member of the George Gordon First Nation. She resides in Regina with her husband, Patrick, and her four children, Raymond, Rowan, Shay and Isaiah.

Lynn M. Meadows is Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary and is currently Acting Graduate Education Co-ordinator.

Monique Mojica is an actor and published playwright from the Kuna and Rappahannock nations. Based in Toronto since 1983, she began training at the age of three and belongs to the second generation spun directly from the web of New York’s Spiderwoman Theater. Her play “Princess Pocahontas and the Blue Spots” was produced by Nightwood Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille in 1990, on radio by CBC and published by Women’s Press in 1991. She is the co-editor, with Ric Knowles, of Staging Coyote’s Dream: An Anthology of First Nations Drama in English, Vols. I & II (Playwrights Canada Press). Monique is a long-time collaborator with Floyd Favel on various research and performance projects investigating Native Performance Culture. Theatre credits include: “The Rez Sisters” (Native Earth), “Red River” (Crow’s Theatre) “The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God” (Nightwood Theatre/Obsidian/Mirvish) and “Home Is My Road” (Factory Theatre) as well as the one-woman show, “Governor of the Dew” by Floyd Favel (nac/Globe Theatre). Monique received a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the First Americans in the Arts for her role as Grandma Builds-the-Fire in Sherman Alexie’s film Smoke Signals. She was the Artist in Residence for American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois in Spring 2008. She continues to explore art as healing, as an act of reclaiming historical/cultural memory and as an act of resistance.

Kate Monture was 15 years old and in Grade 11 when she wrote this article. She is Mohawk from Grand River Territory and also has ties through her father to the Thunderchild First Nation (Cree) in Saskatchewan.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada was created in 1974 to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Aboriginal women. nwac is the national representative of thirteen provincial and territorial organizations. It has always been nwac’ s objective to provide a national voice for Aboriginal women, and to address issues of importance to Aboriginal women.

Laura Norton is a Mohawk woman from Kahnawake. She is a mind and body therapist currently enrolled in the Department of Sociology at Concordia University. She has conducted research on various issues including aging, diabetes, hiv/aids, environment, and occupational standards. She is currently operating Sweet Grass Alternative Therapy, which she established in 1996 (offering aromatherapy, essential oils, vibration, and herbal medicine).

Shirley and Nerissa O’Connor are mother and daughter.  They are from the Lac Seul First Nation in northern Ontario and reside in Sioux Lookout. They have both been active at the community level. Shirley was President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association in the late 1980s.

Isabel Louise O’Kanese is a Cree non-status Indian living in Edmonton. She began journal and poetry writing at the age of ten. She is a radio announcer at CJSR since 1999. She is currently working as a Community Disability Support Worker and works with disabled adults.

Osennontion was born and raised in Kahnawake, where she is now living. She is a granddaughter and her parents’ eldest and only daughter, the older sister to five brothers, and an aunt to a niece and nephews, and a relative to many, many others. In her past life. she has been a student at Bishop’s University, an employee of Parks Canada and Indian and Inuit Affairs, a staff member of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (nwac), and an active “mover” in the Aboriginal women’s movement, from the Ottawa Local of the Ontario Native Women’s Association (onwa) to the nwac. She left that whole scene in the fall of 1987 and moved “home,” where she has become a community activist of sorts. She is a “beginner” when it comes to learning her language and her ways, but she is a strong believer, her entering colour and sacred space being red, which is the colour of faith. She currently travels Turtle Island sharing good life teachings and learning traditional ways.

Susan Judith Ship has a Ph.D. in Political Science. Her doctoral thesis, inspired by this research, explored the impact of hiv/aids on women in Senegal from a Woman/Gender and Development perspective, with a focus on state policies. She has published in the area of gender and diversity as well as conducted research on various issues pertaining to Aboriginal health, immigration, multiculturalism and anti-racist education.

Mary Sillett was born in Hopedale, Labrador, and graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Social Work from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has worked on Inuit and Aboriginal issues in community, regional, provincial, national, and international settings. She is a past President of the Inuit Women’s Association of Canada and was a Commissioner on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. She is the mother of two sons.

Skonaganleh:rá was born and raised (mostly) at Tyendinaga. She is a granddaughter, daughter, sister, auntie, friend and relative to many. Skonaganleh:rá is a Kanien’kehá:ka woman and was born into the Wolf Clan. Skonaganleh:rá is a student of traditional ways: Wolf Clan teachings, medicine wheels, colour teachings and life. She has been involved with the Friendship Centre movement for over thirty-five years.Skonaganleh:rá has provided advice and support over the years to a number of Native women’s organizations. She is a reformed and recovering politician. She is currently employed at the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres as Executive Director. Her work ensures she works in many fields. She continues to learn her traditional ways and teachings.

Lori Sparling holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and has an advanced honours certificate in Native Studies. She is the Health Director for Clearwater River Dene Nation where she lives with her six-year-old son.

Lina Sunseri is of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, Turtle Clan. Her Longhouse name is Yeliwi:saks, which means Gathering Stories, Knowledge. She also has Italian ancestry from her father’s side. She is Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology, Brescia University College, at the University of Western Ontario.

Caroline L. Tait is Métis from MacDowall, Saskatchewan, Canada. She received her Ph.D. from the Departments of Anthropology and Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University, Montreal, in 2003. During the 1995-1996 academic year, Caroline was a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the Departments of Anthropology and Social Medicine. Caroline is the past coordinator of the National Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research funded by the Canadian Institute for Aboriginal Peoples Health Research and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, in May 2004. She is past Vice-chair of the Aboriginal Women’s Health and Healing Research Group, a national group of Aboriginal women who are funded by the Women’s Health Bureau, Health Canada. In May 2004 she joined the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Saskatchewan, as an Assistant Professor.

Robina Thomas—Qwul’sih’yah’maht—(Lyackson of the Hul’qumi’num speaking people on Vancouver Island) is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria.

Wilfreda E. Thurston is Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine; Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Nursing; and Director of the Institute for Gender Research, University of Calgary.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is Cree and Scottish. She was appointed British Columbia’s first Representative for Children and Youth—an independent officer of the Legislature who works to support vulnerable children, particularly Aboriginal children and youth—in November 2006, for a five-year term. Ms Turpel-Lafond, who took a five-year leave from the Saskatchewan Provincial Court, was appointed to the bench in 1998. She was the Administrative Judge for Saskatoon, involved in the administration of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan in relation to access to justice, Aboriginal justice and healing, and public outreach.She has also worked as a criminal law judge in youth and adult courts, which led her to work at developing partnerships to better serve the needs of young people in the justice system. Prior to her judicial appointment, Ms Turpel-Lafond was a lawyer in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan and a tenured professor of law at Dalhousie University Faculty of Law. As a practicing lawyer, she has appeared before all levels of Courts in Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada, on behalf of Aboriginal individuals, bands, and organizations. She has received numerous awards, scholarships, grants and honours, including three honourary doctorates from the University of Regina (2003), Mount Saint Vincent University (2005), and Thompson Rivers University (2009). Ms Turpel-Lafond is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and the mother of four children, which she considers her greatest opportunity for learning and growth as a person. The article appearing in this collection was written when Ms Turpel-Lafond was a professor of law at Dalhousie Law School many years ago.

Lana Whiskeyjack is a nehiyaw (Cree) from Saddle Lake Cree Nations. She is an artist/art actionist who resides in Alberta.

Alice Olsen Williams was born in Trout Lake, 150 miles north of Kenora, in the traditional territory of her mother’s people from time before memory. She received her teaching certificate from Lakehead Teacher’s College, which is now the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Having taught in Thunder Bay and at Pic Mobert First Nation, Alice and her husband, Doug, moved to Curve Lake First Nation just north of Peterborough, Ontario, where Doug was born and raised. While looking after their four children and their home, Alice completed her B.A. from Trent University as well as developing her skills in beadwork and sewing. In 1980 she discovered quilting, mastering the techniques which allow her to create the meticulous hand-quilting in her bed coverings and wall hangings. Gradually Alice formed the concepts which would be the basis for her distinctive style and work. Blending her cultural heritage into a unified whole, she envisions the central motif to depict the symbols and themes of Anishinaabe culture, surrounded by the conventional North American quilting blocks and patterns which were developed and continue to be evolved by those women and their descendants who came to this Land from Europe, the legacy of her father’s people. Through her understanding of the teachings of the Elders, Alice has created her own Life symbol. Her quilts and wall-hangings have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, Michigan State University Museum, Wanuskewin Heritage Park, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Peterborough Art Gallery, and many other museums and art galleries. One of Alice’s goals is to show how quilting can bring healing, companionship, and comfort to women, by sharing experiences and expressing their feelings through the arts. She continues to grow as an artist, searching for new ways to express the Spirit of Creation in the images of her designs.

Shirley Ida Williams-Pheasant is a member of the Bird Clan of the Ojibwa and Odawa First Nations of Canada. Her Indigenous name is “Migizi-ow-Kwe,” meaning Eagle Woman. She was born and raised at Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island and attended St. Joseph’s Residential School in Spanish, Ontario. She received her ba in Indigenous Studies at Trent University and her Native Language Instructors Program diploma from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Shirley received her Masters degree from York University in Environmental Studies in June of 1996.She worked at Trent University for many years and is currently retired.

Alex Wilson, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. She is passionate about social justice and research and is particularly focused on Indigenous methodologies. She enjoys kayaking, fishing, and spending time at home on her Nations traditional terriitory.

"I am so truly amazed at the strength, knowledge and skill of On:kwe o:weh women and young women of our many Nations. There are so many people that need to read
this important collection because it brings out these beautiful voices in written form. Is it important to hear the voices of Aboriginal women and girls in today’s society, and especially in academia, because for far too long our voices have been silenced. We will no longer tolerate this and First Voices is proof that this will no longer be the case. "
—Beverley Jacobs, Mohawk Nation, Bear Clan, Six Nations Grand River Territory and Past President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (2004-2009)

"What a rich demonstration of the creativity, critical thinking and activism of Aboriginal women! The editors have done us a great service by assembling this collection; it covers such a broad range of voices and subjects, and shows an evolution of thought and activity over the last twenty years. It’s all here! All in all, a significant contribution towards the ongoing articulation of who we are."
—Kim Anderson, author of A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood

"This volume brings us the stories of wisdom keepers and artists, academics and activists, the women who have carried us, and the women who have fought for our freedom, who are working in different ways to bring about justice and healing for our people and our land. It is a work of love, and of great beauty."
—Bonita Lawrence, author of 'Real' Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native People and Indigenous Nationhood

By the Book Reviews  - January 31, 2010
Reviewed by Hubert O’Hearn
http://bythebookreviews.blogspot.com/2010/03/first-voices-aboriginal-womens-reader.html

Review highlights:

"First Voices is a tremendous anthology. Poems, stories, diaries, learned papers and Parliamentary testimony, mostly but not totally drawn from the journal Canadian Women’s Studies, this book supplies the reader with much to meditate upon. An article such as ‘Indian Medicine, Indian Health’ makes one realize that the Tribal Peoples were practicing holistic or naturopathic medicine many, many centuries before those terms were coined. One wonders how much else we have missed in our learning. As I was mulling through the pages I was ashamed to realize that I knew much more about the history and the economic and legal injustices faced by American blacks than I did about my own country’s Tribal People....

I do strongly suggest that high school teachers who wish to challenge their brighter students, or any first-year Politics professors who wish to brighten their challenged students should go through the book and introduce those students to the undiscovered country that they happen to live in. Be seeing you."

Black Hat Media
http://www.blackhatmedia.ca/index.php?pr=First_Voices_Last_Heard

Review highlights:

"First Voices An Aboriginal Women's Reader is an intriguing thought-provoking read.  This 'textbook' has the ability to change the perception that First Voices are the last heard and the least understood....

The discussions within First Voices covers many aspects of the Aboriginal women's relationship to their own identities, their land, their families, their communities, and their nations....

Finally it is important to acknowledge that this is not simply "An Aboriginal Women's Reader". It would be more accurately titled "First Voices - Aboriginal Women's Prespectives".  This is required reading for every other Canadian that hopes to finally understand the true history of 'Our Home and Native Land'...."  

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The Goose: a literature, art, environment, and culture journal
http://www.alecc.ca/documents/goose/THE_GOOSE_FALL_2010_ISSUE_8.pdf

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Socialist Studies / Études socialistes 6 (2) Fall 2010: 182-185
http://www.socialiststudies.com

Review highlights:

"The collection constitutes an accessible collection of women's writing for the purpose of which it was intended: it is a compilation of events and experiences told from the voices of Aboriginal women themselves through a different lens of understanding. Its compelling personal accounts of social injustice are sure to impact audiences of all levels, high school students to university professors alike.
...

For too long the voices of Aboriginal women have been excluded from literature and academic publishing. A quote by Marie Battiste, included in one of the final excerpts, expresses the overall objectives which are met through this collection, "What Aboriginal people need is a new story, one which empowers 'Indigenous worldviews, languages, knowledges, cultures, and most important, Indigenous peoples and communities'" (503). First Voices provides such a story. It is a conversation and celebration of Aboriginal women, their communities, lives and experiences over the last thirty years. As the authors note, the text provides a record of First Nations women's writings long before such publications were valued in many academic and literary circles. As such, it provides a worthy contribution to Aboriginal literature and scholarship."

Acknowledgements

Introduction
Patricia A. Monture and Patricia D. McGuire

Profiles of Aboriginal Women

Kohkum would be Mad at me
Patricia A. Monture

Response to Canada’s Apology to Residential Shool Survivors
Beverley Jacobs

A Portrait of Gladys Taylor
Alice Olsen Williams

The Life of a Chief: An Interview
Nora Bothwell

A Nice Story of Nohkom
Lana Whiskeyjack

Carrying the Pipe: Maliseet Elder, Healer and Teacher, Imelda Perley
Maura Hanrahan

The Poverty and the Poetry: A Native Woman’s Life History
Garry Klugie

An Interview with Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel, of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation, Turtle Clan
Kim Anderson

Role Models: An Anishnaabe-kwe Perspective
Renée E. Mzinegiizhigo-kwe Bédard

Sky Woman Lives On: Contemporary Examples of Mothering the Nation
Lina Sunseri

Identity

Healing Is
Isabel Louise O’Kanese

Wiisaakodewikwe Anishinaabekwe Diabaajimotaw Nipigon Zaaga’igan: Lake Nipigon Ojibway Métis Stories About Women
Patricia D. McGuire

Surviving as a Native Woman Artist
Joane Cardinal-Schubert

N’tacimowin innan nah’: Our Coming In Stories
Alex Wilson

Triple Jeopardy: Aboriginal Women with Disabilities
Doreen Demas

Inuit Women and the Politics of Naming in Nunavut
Valerie Alia

Feminism and Aboriginal Culture: One Woman’s View
Agnes Grant

Grandmothers, Mothers, and Daughters
Shirley O’Connor-Anderson, Patricia A. Monture & Nerissa O’Connor

Brown Girl Dancing
Kate Monture

Women’s Words: Power, Identity and Indigenous Sovereignty
Patricia A. Monture

Territory

I Lost My Talk
Rita Joe

Reflections from a NamekosipiiwAnishinaapekwe
My Trout Lake, Your Trout Lake
Kaaren Olsen Dannenmann

Anishnaabekwe, Traditional Knowledge and Water
Deborah McGregor

Nunavut: Whose Homeland, Whose Voices?
Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez

First Nations Women and Sustainability on the Canadian Prairies
Brenda McLeod

Third World Housing Development and Indigenous People in North America
Winona LaDuke

Matrimonial Real Property Solutions
Elizabeth Bastien

Activism

An Invocation/Incantation to the Women Word-Warriors for custom-Made Shoes
Monique Mojica

Aboriginal Women at Midlife: Grandmothers as Agents of Change
Lynn M. Meadows, Wilfreda E. Thurston & Laura E. Lagendy

Two Spirited Aboriginal People: Continuing Cultural Appropriation by Non-Aboriginal Society
Michelle Cameron

Ensuring Indigenous Women’s Voices are Heard: The Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women
Mary Sillet

“With the Appropriate Qualifications”: Aboriginal People and Employment Equity
Patti Doyle-Bedwell

HIV/AIDS and Aboriginal Women in Canada
Susan Judith Ship & Laura Norton

Aboriginal Women and the Constitutional Debates: Continuing Discrimination
Native Women’s Association of Canada

Moving Beyond the Feminism Versus Nationalism Dichotomy: An Anti-Colonial Feminist Perspective on Aboriginal Liberation Struggles
Lina Sunseri

Writing on the Wall: Métis Reflections on Gerald Vizenor’s Strategies for Survival
Carole Leclair

Confronting Power: Aboriginal Women and Justice Reform
Patricia A. Monture

Confronting Colonialism

White man tell me
Patricia A. Monture

Racism, Sexism and Colonialism: The Impact on the Health of Aboriginal Women in Canada
Carrie Bourassa, Kim McKay-McNabb & Mary Hampton

Child Sexual Abuse: Words from Concerned Women
Aboriginal Women’s Council of Saskatchewan

Keeping the Circle Strong in the North: Solvent Abuse, Alcohol and Drug Strategies for the North
Rosemarie Kuptana

Simpering Outrage During an “Epidemic” of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Caroline L. Tait

For Kayla John
Robina Thomas

Is Canada Peaceful and Safe for Aboriginal Women?
Anita Olsen Harper

A Culture of Loss: The Mourning Period of Paper Indians
Apryl Gladue

Confronting the Canadian Legal System

Freedom
Kate Monture

“The Least Members of Our Society”
The Mohawk Women of Caughnawaga

Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Contradictions and Challenges
Aki-Kwe/Mary Ellen Turpel

Aboriginal Women’s Rights as “Existing Rights”
Sharon D. McIvor

Women and the Canadian Legal System: Examining Situations of Hyper-Responsibility
CAEFS/NWAC

Entrenched Social Catastrophe: Native Women in Prison
Fran Sugar

A Suitable Place: Positive Change for Federally-Sentenced Aboriginal Women in Canada
Lori Sparling

Women and Risk: Aboriginal Women, Colonialism and Correctional Practice
Patricia A. Monture

International Human Rights Standards and Instruments Relevant to Indigenous Women
M. Céleste Mckay

Indigenous Knowledges

When I Was a Child
Shirley Ida Williams-Pheasant

The Spirit of My Quilts
Alice Olsen Williams

Our World
Osennontion & Skonaganleh:rá

Indian Medicine, Indian Health
Lesley Malloch

Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way
Monique Mojica

Locating Ourselves in the Place of Creation: The Academy as Kisu’lt melkiko’tin
Emerance Baker

Notokwe Opikiheet—“Old Lady Raised” Aboriginal Women’s Reflections on Ethics and Methodologies
Kim Anderson

Conclusion
Patricia D. McGuire and Patrcia A. Monture

Photo Credits
Index

Copyright © 2012 Inanna Publications. Site development by In the Lost and Found & Nicole Chung.