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ERIC Number: EJ841789
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
Their Spirits Live within Us: Aboriginal Women in Downtown Eastside Vancouver Emerging into Visibility
Culhane, Dara
American Indian Quarterly, v27 n3-4 p593-606 Sum-Fall 2003
The intersection of Main and Hastings streets--known locally as "Pain and Wastings"--marks the heart of Vancouver's inner-city neighborhood: the Downtown Eastside. Since 1997, when the City of Vancouver Health Department declared a public health emergency in response to reports that HIV infection rates among residents exceeded those anywhere else in the "developed" world, Downtown Eastside Vancouver has become a focal point in emerging local, national, and international debates about the causes of, and solutions to, widespread practices of intravenous injection of illicit drugs and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Public health and law enforcement authorities, in an effort to respond to these "twin epidemics" have treated the Downtown Eastside as a containment zone, rather than as an enforcement zone: few if any arrests are made for simple possession or trafficking of small quantities of illegal drugs, or for soliciting for the purposes of prostitution. On one day of the year, though, for at least a few hours, the scene at Main and Hastings is dramatically altered. In 1991, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women's organizations in inner-city Vancouver declared February 14 a day of remembrance to honor neighborhood women who have been murdered or who have disappeared. In the Downtown Eastside, Valentine's Day has been transformed into an occasion to protest against racism, poverty, and violence against women, and to celebrate resistance, solidarity, and survival. In this struggle, visibility and recognition are inseparable from the goals of material survival: these women are engaged in a struggle to stay alive and to change the material and symbolic conditions of existence for women who come after them. The Valentine's Day March changes somewhat each year, but the particular event the author focuses on is the 2001 March. The 2001 March symbolizes Aboriginal women's active resistance to how they are constructed in "invisibility" in public culture. (Contains 24 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada (Vancouver)