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ERIC Number: EJ841787
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
Women's Class Strategies as Activism in Native Community Building in Toronto, 1950-1975
Howard-Bobiwash, Heather
American Indian Quarterly, v27 n3-4 p566-582 Sum-Fall 2003
Between the end of World War II and the early 1970s, many Native women in Ontario came to Toronto in the hopes of accessing higher education, jobs, and freedom denied them on reserves under the oppression of federal government tutelage. However, much of the literature on Native rural-urban migration in Canada concentrates on an association between urbanization and social problems, or on Native peoples' "failure" to assimilate into urban society. Conversely, the author contends that attention to women's experiences in the history of Toronto Native community building illustrates diversity and complexity in the socioeconomic life of Native urban migrants. For some, their personal journeys to Toronto positioned them as members of an emergent Native "middle class," itself characterized by the particularities of Native historical and cultural experiences, which the author discusses in the first section of this article. In particular, many Native women in this position did not equate their relative economic success with assimilation. Rather, they utilized their class mobility to support the structural development of Native community organizations and promote positive pride in Native cultural identity in the city. In the second section, the author sketches some of the intersections between Native women's lives and the development of community for thousands of Native people in Toronto between 1950 and 1975. The author describes the involvement of Native women in the North American Indian Club (1950-1978), from which emerged the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto (founded 1962), the city's oldest Native community center, and the women's participation in the Native Centre's Ladies' Auxiliary. Their experiences also highlight the specificity of emerging Native "middle-class" identity in Toronto. This is further explored in the third part of this article, examining the engagement of Native women in socioeconomic class mobility, Native image-making, and networking with women members of the Toronto white elite. Their work here served as a means to generate positive forms of Native identity grounded in notions of cultural pride and authenticity, while also securing resources to empower Native community self-determination. (Contains 29 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; Canada (Toronto)