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ERIC Number: EJ912991
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
Elder Brother, the Law of the People, and Contemporary Kinship Practices of Cowessess First Nation Members: Reconceptualizing Kinship in American Indian Studies Research
Innes, Robert Alexander
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v34 n2 p27-46 2010
In this study, the author focuses on how Cowessess First Nation band members have constructed their identities over time, and the link between their identities and notions of kinship. Specifically, the author examines how Cowessess band members' continued adherence to principles of traditional law regulating kinship has undermined the imposition of the Indian Act's definitions of Indian by acknowledging kinship relations to band members who either had not been federally recognized as Indians prior to 1985 or were urban members disconnected from the reserve. The study describes how kinship for contemporary Cowessess First Nation band members, in spite of the historical, scholarly, and legal classifications of Aboriginal peoples created and imposed by outsiders, persists to define community identity and interaction based on principles outlined in the Elder Brother stories. The author first provides a brief history of the legislation that has defined Indian in Canadian law and of the challenges to these definitions that eventually led to the 1985 implementation of Bill C-31, which amended the Indian Act's membership code. Then, he outlines the notion of the law of the people conveyed through stories of Elder Brother. Next, he links the values found within the stories to kinship patterns practiced by Cowessess members in the early reserve period to the mid-twentieth century. Finally, he discusses the findings of interviews with twenty-seven Cowessess band members that show their continued adherence to aspects of their traditional kinship expectations. (Contains 40 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
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