From reserves to cities (and back) : the significance of reserves in Registered Indian women's migration
The migration of Registered Indian people to and from their reserves has attracted much scholarly attention over the decades. A significant theme in early literature suggested Indian people migrated back and forth between their rural homes and urban destinations because they could not cope with life in the city and their movement in between the two places was seen by some as urban failure. To some extent Indian peoples’ authenticity was challenged if they chose city life. In later years scholarly literature began to explore the notions that many Indian people were quite capable of succeeding as urban dwellers, but there was still no rich understanding of migration patterns. Some scholars cautioned other scholars not to misinterpret federal statistics that lack in qualitative detail which may result in misinformed policy and program initiatives. There was a call for more qualitative studies to explain the statistics and present a better understanding of Indian migration patterns and hence population changes in cities and on reserves. Additionally, there was sufficient evidence that more Indian women were migrating to cities than Indian men, a phenomenon that required some attention. Interviewing Registered Indian women about their migrating experiences was an attempt to provide additional detail and understanding of the migration patterns between rural origins and urban destinations. The interviewees in this study clearly revealed that the circular migration of Registered Indian people to and from reserves showed the significance a particular migrant has to their home reserve. This significance should not be understood only as an a reflection of inability to succeed in the city as many registered Indian women return to their reserves with higher educations to work in their communities, only to leave again for further education. Some women leave their reserves to escape domestic problems, only to return to try to work things out with their partners. Many women end up leaving again. But economies, educations, domestic problems etc. are not the only influences on migration. The sanctity of the land and the many years of history that are symbolized by reserves are also factors of circular migration between reserves and cities.
Indian women, migration, First Nations, reserves
Master of Arts (M.A.)