Paycheques & Paper Promises: Coast Salish and Mi’kmaw Work And Family Life under Canadian Settler Colonialism
Osmond, Colin Murray
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Using Community-Engaged research and an intersectional approach, this dissertation examines and interprets the ways two different Indigenous communities – The Tla’amin of British Columbia and the Mi’kmaq of Pictou, Nova Scotia –responded to the challenges and opportunities associated with settler colonialism, the creation of Indian Reserves, and the establishment of a capitalist wage labour economy in Indigenous territories. It primarily situates this discussion within the context of colonial efforts to geographically anchor Indigenous families in specific places while they struggled to retain meaningful connections with their broader territories. This dissertation provides critical analysis of the utility of using ‘settler colonialism’ as a catch-all to explain the various types of colonialism that impacted Indigenous people in Canada. Various types of colonialism contributed to a process where Atlantic Mi’kmaw and Pacific Coast Salish people with complex understandings of their territories and resources based on seasonal procurement and kinship systems, became geographically anchored on reserves as part of Indian Bands in the late nineteenth century. Within this confusing and often contradictory colonial world, the Tla’amin and the Mi’kmaq built adaptive and flexible economies that emphasized multiple occupations and relied on labour inputs from women and men to function. I argue that these new markets for Indigenous labour and commodities played an as of yet underappreciated role in the historical understanding of Indigenous motivations for securing specific reserve lands during the colonial survey of Indigenous lands in Canada. This dissertation adds to a growing body of literature that celebrates and historicizes Indigenous contributions to the labour history of Canada, and does so in ways that express how Indigenous people developed dynamic and responsive economies within emerging settler colonial economies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorCarlson, Keith T
CommitteeKorinek, Valerie; Clifford , Jim; Nickel, Sarah
Copyright DateJanuary 2021