Staging Circular Suffering: Aboriginal Repertoires and Violence Against Women in Canada
This thesis begins with the claim that gendered violence continues to plague First Nations women and Aboriginal communities across Canada, despite national statistics that suggest improvement. Contemporary Native theatre attempts to counter systemic violence that oppress the Aboriginal peoples. Violence against women is especially prevalent when exploring First Nations realities, and the dramatic works examined illustrate how the rampancy of gendered violence both hinders and defines the lived realities of First Nations women in Canada. Through the careful reading of Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters, Yvette Nolan’s Annie Mae’s Movement, and Marie Clements’s The Unnatural and Accidental Women this thesis contends that Native theatre is an affective tool for promoting social change. Through witnessing and testifying, seeking spiritual and cultural fulfillment, and exploring the potentialities of what I call the Aboriginal repertoire, First Nations women and Canada as a nation may take the next steps toward individual and communal wellness.