Men, Masculinity, and the Indian Act
Canada’s Indian Act is infamously sexist. Through many iterations of the legislation a woman’s status rights flowed from her husband, and even once it was amended to reinstate rights lost through marriage or widowhood, First Nations women could not necessarily pass status on to their descendants.
That injustice has rightly been subject to much scrutiny, but what has it meant for First Nations men? In an original complement to studies focused on the implications of the act for women, Martin J. Cannon challenges the decades-long assumption of case law and politics that the act has affected Indigenous people as either “women” or “Indians” – but not both. He argues that sexism and racialization must instead be understood as interlocking within the law. This double discrimination has been used to disrupt gender complementarity between Indigenous men and women, and to undercut the identities of Indigenous men through their female forebears.
By re-storying historically patriarchal legislation and Indigenous masculinity, Men, Masculinity, and the Indian Act encourages Indigenous men to begin to articulate the complex ways in which their life’s journey is shaped by discrimination directed at Indigenous women. Only then can a transformative discussion about Indigenous nationhood, citizenship, and reconciliation take place.
Scholars and students of Indigenous studies and gender studies will find this book of interest, as will activists, legal practitioners, and others concerned with Indigenous rights, feminism, nationhood, identity, and the Indian Act.
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