During the late nineteenth century reserve lines and boundaries were sharply drawn in Canada and New Zealand, and, as a consequence, the choice to marry “out” had very real material implications for aboriginal women. This article examines the “reserve experience” of indigenous women in Canada and New Zealand, focusing on the native reserve as a significant site of interracial contact. Native reserves were designed to be distinct settlements, but intermarriage undermined the pretense of separate living spaces that reserves were designed to generate. Intermarriage, and the spatial relocation that followed, are significant components of the reserve experience for indigenous women over the period 1870 to 1900. Understanding of the reserve experience requires reorientation to account for spatial movement and migration, viewing the reserve not just as a bounded space, but also as a site where border crossings and resistances took place and where interracial relationships flourished.

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