Canada’s Shame: The Oppression of Aboriginal Women in the Indian Act

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Introduction The topic for our research paper is oppression against women in the Indian Act. Discrimination against Aboriginal people has been a key issue for many years; however society generally skims the surface of this act and tends to give lip service to it without acknowledging the deeper issue of how these oppressions come with it. In the beginning of our research we quickly made a parallel between the oppression of Aboriginal women and the injustices they face and the breakdown in Aboriginal families and communities. As future social workers working from an anti-oppressive practice perspective the proposed research will help acquire the knowledge in building transformative politicized social work. Our team feels that by…show more content…
The Indian Act determines who is and is not an Indian, furthermore it was amended in 1869 to infuse patrilineage so that an Indian was defined as any person Mensah, Zaprawa 3 where father or husband was a registered Indian. The ultimate goal of the Indian Act was “one of assimilation and the arduous task of civilizing the savages – a national agenda.” (Gehl, 2000, p.64). What Injustices do the Women Face? According to Lynn Gehl, women who marry outside their own community lose their status within those boundaries and will not be able to regain their original level of influence upon transferring to their husband’s community. The Indian Act marginalized women and made them an outsider within their own culture (Ghel, 2000, p.67). This oppression stripped women of their rights socially, politically and economically and made them dependant people by European standards. The Indian Act took away the voice and influence aboriginal women had in their communities by creating a sexist environment dominated by their male counterpart. Taking away the traditional equality and replacing it with a male-supremacy frame of mind disenfranchised women of their right to fully participate in decision making processes within the family. Furthermore, the Indian Act planted the seed for lateral oppression. As the aboriginal men accepted their role as leaders of women, lateral oppression in

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