Éléonore Sioui was born in 1920—the same year that the Canadian deputy superintendent of Indian Affairs, Duncan Campbell Scott, proclaimed infamously, “Our object is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic, and there is no Indian question and no Indian Department.” The major piece of legislation guiding Canadian federal relations with First Nations, the Indian Act, reinforced Scott’s declaration, promoting an imperial patriarchal system that disregarded Wendat matrifocal traditions. This policy swept across the Canadian nation-state, transcending provincial borders and informing mainstream society’s attitudes toward Indigenous peoples. Although the 1920s seemed to suggest a new wave of racist and sexist objectives, the national policies remained consistent with the historical process of colonization and imperial rule in North America. This article uses Sioui’s life story as a window into this long history, providing insight into twentieth-century Indigenous social movements such as the political activism of the 1970s, the quest for higher education in the 1980s, and the efforts to harmonize Indigenous international rights in the 1990s. Taken as a whole, Éleonore’s Sioui’s participation in these movements outlines a successful strategy to counter colonialism. Throughout her existence, Sioui witnessed the ongoing marginalization of Indigenous peoples at home and abroad, motivating her toward a lifetime dedicated to combating these policies and empowering Indigenous women like herself.

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