Women's Roles In Aboriginal Society

672 Words2 Pages

Before European contact in North America, Aboriginal Women held traditional roles in society and in family life. Different beliefs and social codes were introduced to the Aboriginal society when non-Aboriginal contact arrived in what is now Canada. They brought with them their ideologies about patriarchal social codes and the goals of assimilating and civilizing of the Aboriginals. Colonialism has damaged Canadian Aboriginal women’s roles through imposition of patriarchy and the act of marginalization. Aboriginal women’s roles in society and the family were diminished through the Europeans beliefs of patriarchy. In Aboriginal societies before European contact, men and women held separate and distinct roles that complemented each other. Many First Nations were matrilineal, meaning that descent – wealth, power, and inheritance -- were passed down through the mother. (Hanson, E. (n.d.)) Motherhood was honored and respected by First Nations citizens and the women had a strong role in political decisions. The Aboriginal women were also key to electing …show more content…

Generations of clans, houses, and families that had established long lasting social networks and systems were forced to split up and were joined with other families and houses. Aboriginal women, who had the role of caring for and nurturing children now had to get a job to afford to live and to not let their children go hungry; yet, finding a job was extremely difficult because of marginalization and competition from immigrants who were working for cheaper wage. (Harris, Cole. 2002) They felt that they were suddenly unable to support and sustain themselves and their families. But, leaving the reserve meant they would face discrimination for abandoning their home, their Indian rights would be stripped and they would lose or jeopardize connection to their family and land ever

Open Document