George Gordon First Nations Women: Partners in Survival
ABSTRACT This dissertation examines the work of the women of George Gordon First Nation in southern Saskatchewan from the earliest historical references until about the end of World War II. Many aspects of their experience are covered in an attempt to illustrate the vital importance of women’s work to their families’ survival and wellbeing over the period after Treaty 4, in 1874, from settling on reserve, adapting to the farming way of life of the early reserve period, and gradually to developing new responses to changing economic conditions after the turn of the century. Utilizing archival, documentary, and oral sources, this research brings forth the voices of the people to tell their own stories. Those stories reveal that women and men both worked hard to make a living under the difficult circumstances of the Indian Affairs-administered reserve. While George Gordon’s band was composed of Cree, Saulteaux, and Halfbreeds, as they were termed in the Indian Affairs records, and as settlers began to surround the reserve, many dynamics impinged on women and their work, but overall, a number of traditions can be seen to continue from the earliest times. Among them, the complementarity of roles, the fact that women worked hard, and the adaptability to hardships, are evident. “An Indian is never stuck,” is still a popular adage on the reserve today.
Indigenous Women Work History
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)