Disavowing colonialism: the Canadian federal government on missing and murdered indigenous women

Wakeford, Kim (2016) Disavowing colonialism: the Canadian federal government on missing and murdered indigenous women. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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While many Indigenous, activist and human rights groups agree that the disproportionate number of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) in Canada can be attributed to the historical and ongoing discrimination that began with colonization (LEAF, 2014), my research suggests that this consensus does not exist among reports about the subject produced by the Government of Canada. Exploring how the Canadian Federal Government has framed and responded to this crisis, I conduct an intersectional, feminist, and Foucauldian critical discourse analysis of 15 federally-produced reports purporting to account for the problem of MMIW, revealing several troubling discursive trends. Among these is the narrative that the violence occurs exclusively in Indigenous communities and at the hands of Indigenous men, a story that is contradicted by the Government’s own statistical information. In this way, the reports elide the colonial settler-state’s responsibility for the historical and ongoing colonization that creates the conditions in which Indigenous women are killable. Noting that Indigenous women’s vulnerability to murder and disappearance occurs within and is compounded by colonial, racial, and gendered structures of oppression, I argue that understanding Canadian colonization as an ongoing, rather than a past event, is essential to getting beyond these narratives. By disavowing colonialism and not contextualizing the problem of MMIW within current settler-colonialism, the Federal Government reinscribes oppressive colonial structures and renders itself unable to effectively respond to this problem.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12415
Item ID: 12415
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 102-110).
Keywords: Settler-colonial relations, public policy, Native studies, Canada, Turtle Island, missing and murdered Indigenous women
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: October 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Indigenous women--Violence against--Canada; Indigenous girls--Violence against--Canada; Postcolonialism

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