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ERIC Number: EJ841786
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
"Assisting Our Own": Urban Migration, Self-Governance, and Native Women's Organizing in Thunder Bay, Ontario, 1972-1989
Janovicek, Nancy
American Indian Quarterly, v27 n3-4 p548-565 Sum-Fall 2003
This article discusses how Native women in Thunder Bay, Ontario, organized services and programs to help women adapt to urban life in the 1970s and 1980s. It investigates the founding of Beendigen, an emergency hostel for Native women and their children. In 1978, Thunder Bay Anishinabequek, a chapter of the Ontario Native Women's Association (ONWA), opened Beendigen because they believed Native women in crisis and their children, most of whom were fleeing violent families, should not be further isolated in non-Native environments. Beendigen, Ojibwa for "welcome," offered emergency shelter for women whose connection to their home reserve had been severed, and who subsequently faced hostility in the city. Anishinabequek insisted on Aboriginal control over services for Aboriginal people, and their programs emphasized cultural retention and promoted pride in Indigenous culture. Native women's organizing in Thunder Bay developed during a dynamic period in the broader histories of the Aboriginal rights movement and the women's movement. The debates that shaped these histories simultaneously opened up spaces for Native women's organizing and constrained their political goals. To provide a context for Anishinabequek's local initiatives, the author begins with a brief overview of the Indian rights movement and Native women's organizing in Canada in the late 1960s and 1970s. The author then discusses the general activities of ONWA to explain why women organized independently of the Native movement. The examination of the founding of Beendigen demonstrates how Thunder Bay Anishinabequek and ONWA countered the negative impact of government policies that tried to assimilate Aboriginal peoples by organizing services that drew on Aboriginal knowledge, cultures, and values. This research is based on the records of Beendigen and ONWA. Few documents remain from the founding years of the shelter, and there were not many direct references to family violence in the ONWA documents in the 1970s and 1980s. Thus, the author's interpretation of the evidence relies on oral histories with two women who were active in the founding years of ONWA and Beendigen. (Contains 52 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada