Assembling Unity
224 pages, 6 x 9
1 b&w photo, 2 maps, 3 tables
Release Date:01 Feb 2019

Assembling Unity

Indigenous Politics, Gender, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs

UBC Press

Established narratives interpret the drive for Indigenous unity solely as a phenomenon that emerged in response to the political agenda of the settler state. But the evolving and multifaceted concept of unity has long shaped the modern Indigenous political movement.

Through a detailed history of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), one of Canada’s leading Indigenous political organizations, Assembling Unity explores the relationship between pan-Indigenous politics in British Columbia and global political ideologies. Situating Indigenous perspectives on governance firmly in the foreground of her study, Sarah Nickel demonstrates that while unity has been an enduring goal for BC Indigenous peoples, its articulation was heavily negotiated between UBCIC members, grassroots constituents, and Indigenous women’s organizations. She draws on oral interviews, newspaper articles, government documents, and UBCIC records to expose the uniquely gendered nature of political work, as well as the economic and emotional sacrifices that activists make.

Assembling Unity offers new insights into the evolution of political movements, the concept of unity in politics, and gendered political expressions. In the process, this incisive work unsettles dominant Western and patriarchal political ideals that cast Indigenous men as reactive and Indigenous women as invisible and apolitical.

This book will appeal to scholars and students of history, BC studies, and Indigenous studies, particularly those with an interest in gender and politics. It will also find an audience among Indigenous communities, activists, and political leaders.

Sarah A. Nickel is Tk’emlupsemc (Kamloops Secwépemc), French Canadian, and Ukrainian. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Saskatchewan and has contributed to American Indian Quarterly and BC Studies.
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