The “Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework,” announced in 2018 by the federal government was originally hailed as a process for decolonization. Though the framework was withdrawn in December 2018, several policy and legislative initiatives give every indication that the framework is moving forward. In this regard, the paper seeks to open up a discussion about how decolonization is being conceptualized in the new Rights Framework from an Indigenous feminist perspective. I highlight tensions between patriarchy, neoliberalism, and contradictory concepts of decolonization to demonstrate how the Rights Framework manifests a contemporary form of patriarchal colonialism in state-Indigenous politics, especially self-government negotiations, that will continue to negatively impact Indigenous women and gender diverse persons. I further argue how the MMIWG Inquiry Final Report released in June 2019, cannot be mobilized as a tool for decolonization in seeking social justice for Indigenous women and gender diverse persons without their active knowledge and experience in directing how the recommendations are implemented. By foregrounding this experience with an intersectional, gender based analysis + or GBA+ (gender and gender diverse inclusive), and a human rights approach, I suggest there is potential for achieving Indigenous sovereignty over our bodies as well as over the land and waters in ways that are conducive to our resilience and freedom as Indigenous people.
Decolonizing Decolonization: An Indigenous Feminist Perspective on the Recognition and Rights Framework
Dr. Sherry Pictou is a Mi’kmaw woman from L’sɨtkuk (water cuts through high rocks) known as Bear River First Nation, Nova Scotia, and an Assistant Professor in the Women’s Studies Department at Mount Saint Vincent University with a focus on Indigenous Feminism. She is also a former Chief for her community and the former Co-Chair of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples. Her research interests include decolonizing Treaty relations, Social Justice for Indigenous Women, Indigenous women’s role in food and lifeways, and Indigenous knowledge and food systems.
Sherry Pictou; Decolonizing Decolonization: An Indigenous Feminist Perspective on the Recognition and Rights Framework. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2020; 119 (2): 371–391. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-8177809
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