Theses (Indigenous Governance)

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
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    (2023-05-03) Keepness, Shane; Corntassel, Jeff
    The main objective of this research is to provide Indigenous nations and communities with practical solutions to strengthen their nationhood and contribute to community health through the praxis of hunting and land-based practices. Additionally, this project intends to provide a greater understanding of the importance of hunting and eating local healthy foods, and to facilitate a deeper understanding of the connections of Indigenous peoples with their land-base. More specifically, I have worked with my community, the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation, to hunt and harvest our own foods to ensure a healthy diet is optional to community members, while examining other similar food sovereignty projects that other Indigenous nations have initiated. This work examines who the ‘hunter’ is and what responsibilities they invoke for community.
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    Indigenous women's governance & the doorways of consent
    (2020-05-08) Bird, Christine; Mucina, Devi Dee
    The purpose of this research is to identify models of Indigenous governance: that respects Indigenous women’s ability to govern, are grounded in a sacred relationship with the land and water, and engage language and culture to guide the process. Focusing on two distinct land-based resurgence movements, including the Áse Ti Tewá:ton Program in the Onkwenhonwe (Mohawk) community of Akwesasne; and the Hui Mālama ike Ala ‘Ūlili Program in the Kanaka community of Koholālele in Pa‘auilo (Hāmākua, Hawai‘i), it is the intention of this research to understand how these communities are consciously and critically engaging ways that restore their sacred relationship to the land and water; the manner in which they are developing sustainable practices that restore traditional food and educational systems; and methods of developing the critical skills needed to address a contemporary colonial reality. Research considers existing scholarship, community-based practice and Indigenous knowledge to create an understanding of the traditional/ancestral governance practices being generated through these land-based resurgence movements. Through a comparative analysis, this research reveals how each of these communities is using Indigenous language, culture and their relationship to the land as a foundation for restoring ancestral ways of thinking, being and doing, that underlie a traditional governance model. The teachings I have gained through doing this research have given me an understanding of community-based strategies that we can use to move away from an external, violent, dependency-creating style of governance that is consistent with western political approaches to a system of Indigenous governance that upholds Indigenous traditions of agency, leadership, decision-making and diplomacy.
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    Turning relatives into resources (and back again?): towards a decolonial marxism
    (2019-12-24) Bonet, Sebastian; Rowe, James K.; Day, Richard
    To be meaningfully in solidarity with Indigenous liberation struggles, Marxism must bring Indigenous values of consensual intimacy, relational autonomy and responsibility to its centre, by (1) plucking out premises in ethical, political, ontological, epistemological and analytic registers that close off Marx and many contemporary Marxists from centring these values, and (2) bringing Indigenous resurgence values to the centre of Marxism to engage in normative and theoretical repair to enable a more decolonial praxis. I generate my understanding of Indigenous values through a close examination of Indigenous Resurgence Theory, guided by the ethical framework of the Two Row Wampum. With these in hand, I examine the aforementioned registers through immanent critique of the places in Marx's thought where he elaborates them, and suggest transformations that eventuate from incorporating Indigenous values.
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    The education of an indigenous woman: the pursuit of truth, social justice and healthy relationships in a Coast Salish community context
    (2018-05-07) Underwood, Mavis Kathleen; Alfred, Gerald R.; Mucina, Devi Dee
    In 1951 British Columbia public schools opened their doors to First Nations children furthering federal government goals of assimilation. First Nations learners entered provincial public schools as a "billable commodity" while newcomers flooded British Columbia seeking opportunities in a province rich in natural resources in forests, mines, fisheries and land. Sadly the public schools' curricula contained colonization history but no curriculum to describe First Nations existence and history. Locally, there was no recognition of the existence of the Coast Salish people as distinct and prosperous Saltwater People. The indifference to the history of indigenous peoples left newcomers with gaps in their understanding of First Peoples Hostilities and resentments grew as immigration multiplied the numbers and pressure of homesteaders encroaching on traditional indigenous homelands paired with increasing intrusion and restrictions under the Indian Act and shrinking of traditional territories to small contained reserves.
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    Seeking justice beyond legalism: cultural appropriation of totem poles on the Pacific Northwest Coast
    (2018-04-11) Lefroy, Isabelle; Johnson, Rebecca; Corntassel, Jeff
    This thesis attempts to illuminate and problematize the marriage of capitalism and colonialism that results in the widespread appropriation of Indigenous expressions of culture, and in particular, totem poles. This project complicates our understanding of totem poles as they have been presented in the marketplace and restores some of the intricate legal meaning to these incredible works. First, I examine Canadian intellectual property law and colonial policies of cultural erasure like the potlatch ban. Next, I explore the use of rights discourse, or legalism, as a potential route for solutions to this issue. I then conduct case studies of three totem poles. I examine one totem pole as a commodity, one functioning as a piece of art and someone's livelihood, and one as part of a Tlingit legal tradition. This last totem, as a materially appropriated object, provides an opportunity to explore the treatment of totem poles in proper context and also functions as a suggested solution to Indigenous art appropriation more broadly. My intervention on this last totem reframes these issues in a non-Western legal cannon to attempt to address these difficult legal questions. My examination of these three totems serves to destabilize our understanding of totem poles sold in the marketplace, and to broaden our understanding of totems as manifestations of Indigenous laws.
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    From Xwelítem ways towards practices of ethical being in Stó:lō Téméxw: a narrative approach to transforming intergenerational white settler subjectivities
    (2018-01-02) Heaslip, Robyn; Alfred, Gerald R.
    What must we transform in ourselves as white settlers to become open to the possibility of ethical, respectful, authentic relationships with Indigenous peoples and Indigenous lands? Situating this research in Stó:lō Téméxw (Stó:lō lands/world) and in relationships with Stó:lō people, this question has become an effort to understand what it means to be xwelítem and how white settlers might transform xwelítem ways of being towards more ethical ways of being. Xwelítem is a Halq’eméylem concept used by Stó:lō people which translates as the hungry, starving ones, and is often used to refer to ways of being many Stó:lō associate with white settler colonial society, past and present. Drawing on insights and wisdom of Stó:lō and settler mentors I consider three aspects of xwelítem ways of being. First, to be xwelítem is to erase Stó:lō presence, culture and nationhood, colonial history and contemporary colonial realities of Indigenous oppression and dispossession, and settler privilege. Second, being xwelítem means attempting to dominate, control, and repress those who are painted as “inferior” in dominant cultural narratives, it means plugging into racist colonial narratives and stereotypes. Third, being xwelítem is to be hungry and greedy, driven by consumption and lacking respect, reverence and reciprocity for the land. Guided by Indigenous and decolonizing methodologies, critical place inquiry, narrative therapy, and autoethnography, I shape three narratives that speak to each aspect of being xwelítem, looking back towards its roots and forward towards pathways of transformation. I draw on interviews and experiences with Stó:lō and settler mentors, personal narratives, family history, and literature from critical Indigenous studies, anti-colonial theory, settler colonial studies, analytic psychology, and critical race theory. I aim to share what I have learned from rather than about Stó:lō culture, stories, teachings, and practices as these have been shared in relationships and as they have pushed me towards seeing anew myself and my family, communities, histories, and cultures. I have also walked this path as I have become a mom, and the co-alignment of these journeys has meant a focus on my role as a parent in recognizing and intervening with becoming/being xwelítem as it influences my daughter. I specifically center the space of intergenerational parent-child relationships and intimate family experiences as a deep influence on developing white settler subjectivities, and therefore also a relational space of profound transformative potential. I end with a call for settlers to offer our gifts towards the wellbeing of the land and Indigenous peoples through cycles of reciprocity as a basis for ethical relationships. Transforming white settler subjectivities is situated within the broader vision of participating in co-resistance, reparations and restitution, of bringing about justice and harmony, which inherently involves supporting the self-determination and resurgence of Indigenous peoples.
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    Beyond rights and wrongs: towards a treaty-based practice of relationality
    (2017-12-22) Starblanket, Gina; Stark, Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik; Alfred, Gerald R.
    This research explores the implications of the distinction between transactional and relational understandings of the Numbered Treaties, negotiated by Indigenous peoples and the Dominion of Canada from 1871-1921. It deconstructs representations of the Numbered Treaties as “land transactions” and challenges the associated forms of oppression that emerge from this interpretation. Drawing on oral histories of the Numbered Treaties, it argues instead that they established a framework for relationship that expressly affirmed the continuity of Indigenous legal and political orders. Further, this dissertation positions treaties as a longstanding Indigenous political institution, arguing for the resurgence of a treaty-based ethic of relationality that has multiple applications in the contemporary context. It demonstrates how a relational understanding of treaties can function as a powerful strategy of refusal to incorporation within the nation state; arguing that if treaties are understood as structures of co-existence rather than land transactions, settler colonial assertions of hegemonic authority over Indigenous peoples and lands remain illegitimate. Furthermore, it examines how a relational orientation to treaties might inspire alternatives to violent, asymmetrical, and hierarchical forms of co-existence between humans and with other living beings. To this end, it takes up the potential for treaties to inform legal and political strategies that are reflective of Indigenous philosophies of relationality, providing applied examples at the individual, intrasocietal, and intersocietal levels.
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    Protecting the sacred cycle: Xwulmuxw Slhunlheni and leadership
    (2017-03-30) Thomas, Qwul'sih'yah'maht Robina Anne; Corntassel, Jeff
    Xwulmuxw Slhunlheni (Indigenous Women) have, since time immemorial, played critical leadership roles in Indigenous communities. However, with the imposition of racist/sexist colonial policies, indigenous women’s roles were systematically displaced. As a result of these policies, which formalized colonial governance systems, the vital informal leadership roles the Xwulmuxw Slhunlheni play rarely get recognized. This dissertation strives to honour (or stand up) the women in our communities who continue to embrace their important roles as givers of life and carriers of culture. Through storytelling as a methodology, new ways of Indigenous women’s leadership are revealed. I interviewed thirteen women from various Hul’qumi’num communities on Vancouver Island and the Mainland, asking them to share their thoughts on leadership. What emerged from the interviews was the importance of living our cultural and traditional teachings. This central theme emphasized the importance of keeping the past, present and future connected. Every one of the women discussed the importance of our teachings and the necessity to bring those forward for the future generations. What emerged was a model that I have coined Sacred Cycle, a model that focuses on living our values. More importantly, the Sacred Cycle can be used as a valuable tool to resolve governance problems and as a tool of decolonization.
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    Creative Combat: Indigenous Art, Resurgence, and Decolonization
    (2015-09-17) Martineau, Jarrett; Alfred, Taiaiake
    This dissertation examines the transformative and decolonizing potential of Indigenous art-making and creativity to resist ongoing forms of settler colonialism and advance Indigenous nationhood and resurgence. Through a transdisciplinary investigation of contemporary Indigenous art, aesthetics, performance, music, hip-hop and remix culture, the project explores indigeneity’s opaque transits, trajectories, and fugitive forms. In resistance to the demands and limits imposed by settler colonial power upon Indigenous artists to perform indigeneity according to settler colonial logics, the project examines creative acts of affirmative refusal (or creative negation) that enact a resistant force against the masked dance of Empire by refusing forms of visibility and subjectivity that render indigeneity vulnerable to commodification and control. Through extensive interviews with Indigenous artists, musicians, and collectives working in a range of disciplinary backgrounds across Turtle Island, I stage an Indigenous intervention into multiple discursive forms of knowledge production and analysis, by cutting into and across the fields of Indigenous studies, contemporary art and aesthetics, performance studies, critical theory, political philosophy, sound studies, and hip-hop scholarship. The project seeks to elaborate decolonial political potentialities that are latent in the enfolded act of creation which, for Indigenous artists, both constellate new forms of community, while also affirming deep continuities within Indigenous practices of collective, creative expression. Against the colonial injunction to ‘represent’ indigeneity according to a determinate set of coordinates, I argue that Indigenous art-making and creativity function as the noise to colonialism’s signal: a force capable of disrupting colonial legibility and the repeated imposition of the normative order. Such force gains power through movement and action; it is in the act of turning away from the colonial state, and toward one another, that spaces of generative indeterminacy become possible. In the decolonial cypher, I claim, new forms of being elsewhere and otherwise have the potential to be realized and decolonized.  
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    Kwakwaka'wakw laws and perspective regarding "property"
    (2008-04-10T06:05:50Z) Bell, Lucy Mary Christina; Brown, Leslie Allison; Borrows, John
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