Lives We Overlooked: Framing Indigenous Life Stories
Margery Fee, English; Brenda and David McLean Chair in Canadian Studies at UBC
Coach House, Green College, UBC
Thursday, March 16, 7-8 pm
2017 McLean Lecture Series in Canadian Studies: Decolonizing Conversations - Indigenous Texts in the Pacific Northwest before 1992
Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed and Lee Maracle’s Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel were both published in 1973. Both are strikingly important early interventions into the then-emergent discourse around violence against women and children in Canada and internationally. The assimilative colonial regime in Canada aimed directly at the family by removing status children to abusive residential schools. This regime continued in the “Sixties Scoop” which removed children to the care of the state or to white foster or adoptive homes and continues in what has been called the “Millennial Scoop.” In law, women in Canada had few rights with respect to property, divorce, or the custody of children until after World War 2. Indigenous women, stereotyped as promiscuous, and therefore, as bad mothers by definition, were and are subject to even more intense state regulation and violence both from patriarchal colonial institutions supposed to assist them, such as the police, and even in their families and communities. Many critics have raised the issue of how these life stories can be appropriately framed and taught, given the circumstances of their writing and publication and their graphic depiction of the violence experienced by their protagonists. Since both Campbell and Maracle have continued as advocates for women and families, their subsequent work provides useful guidance.
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6201 Cecil Green Park Rd
Green College, UBC
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
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