Honouring experience: cross-cultural relationships between indigenous and settler women in British Columbia, 1960 - 2009




Martin, Kathryn Elizabeth Moore

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This thesis examines cross-cultural relationships between Indigenous and Settler women to challenge the dominant historiography that has overlooked women's lived experiences, and fill a gap in the literature concerning Indigenous – Settler relations. Conceptualizing the history of Indigenous – Settler relations as microhistories, this thesis argues that an increase of in case studies that are focused on Indigenous women’s experiences, are useful to nuance how historians think about colonialism at a macro level. Using a diaological approach I have situated myself as a participant within the research project and was able to partake in oral history interviews with Stó:lō and Settler women throughout the lower mainland in British Columbia. Throughout my discussions, it became apparent that female cross-cultural relationships occurred at certain places. Thus, this project analyzes the nature of female cross-cultural relationships that developed because of the residential school system, community interactions and religion. Were Indigenous and Settler women able to form meaningful relationships at these sites? If so, did these relationships change over the course of the twentieth century? By focusing on Indigenous women's experiences at these sites of encounter, it will be demonstrated that Settler women's colonial mindsets did not always determine the nature of cross-cultural interactions. This project makes important contributions towards an understanding of why some cross-cultural relationships were more meaningful and reciprocal than others. An analysis of colonial discourse coupled with case studies based on oral interviews offers a complex study of how colonialism and the dominant culture were experienced by Indigenous women in British Columbia from 1960 to 2009.



Indigenous Nations, Settler peoples, Cross-cultural relationships, Women, History, Dialogue, British Columbia, 20th Century, Stó:lō Nation, Stalo Indians