We've Always Been Here: Tracing Shifts in the Portrayal of Status, Agency and Mi'kmaw Women's Activism in the Micmac News, 1971-1979
This thesis uses the Micmac News to explore the rise of status and non-status Mi’kmaw women’s activism in Nova Scotia chronologically, from 1971 to 1979. It traces change in opinion, practice and community needs over time, in the context of the national battle to remove Section 12(1)(b) from the Indian Act. The News was created and maintained by Mi’kmaw people, giving us a Mi’kmaw perspective on aspects of Indigenous women’s experiences during the period; this regional approach is often missing from literature on this subject. By focusing on Mi’kmaw women’s writing in the News, this thesis challenges conceptions of Indigenous activism perpetuated by historical works focused primarily on the experiences of national, predominantly male, status Indigenous lobby groups. Reconciliation requires historical understanding; as such, this thesis demonstrates how paternal assimilation policy marginalized Indigenous women, and how these policies were internalized by Indigenous groups. If we understand, we can heal.