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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of northern Canadian Indian women in social change Cruikshank, Julia M. 1969

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THE ROLE OF NORTHERN CANADIAN INDIAN WOMEN IN SOCIAL CHANGE by JULIA M. CRUIKSHANK B.A., University of Toronto, 1967 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of ANTHROPOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY We accept this as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Apr i l , 1969 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h C olumbia, I a g r e e t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and Study. I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s thes,is f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a 1 1 owed wi t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Department i ABSTRACT This thesis examines the changing role of Indian women, particularly in northern Canadian communities where the pace of directed change has been compressed during the past twenty-five years. In.the area now designated 'Yukon Territory' live descendents of Athapaskan, Inland Tlingit and Tagish speaking peoples. It is suggested here that the woman's role is potentially very important in determining the direction of change within Indian communities. Despite radical alterations in the Indian way of l i f e , discontinuity is less abrupt for the women because the role of mother links them both with the past and with the future- In a situation of change, links are necessary to bridge the gap between the past and the future i f cultural identity is to be maintained. Cross-cultural data suggests that women's potential in this role is being recognized in many areas of the world. In Canada, this is frequently ignored. Indian men and women are often lumped as an undifferentiated group without recognition of individual needs and capabilities. Since the building of the Alaska highway and the opening up of mines, an industrial economy has displaced the former hunting and trapping economy in the Yukon. Many Indian men are abandoning traditional economic pursuits and are expected to compete with non-Indians in activities for which they are often not technically or psychologically prepared. In the new cultural environment Indian women are presented with opportunities for independent activity which were traditionally not available to them. With new opportu-nities come new and often conflicting expectations, held both by Indians and by non-Indians, about ways in which an Indian woman should behave. A variety of government agencies claim a vested interest in, and a responsibility for, an Indian family. Each agency places independent demands on the mother, often with very l i t t l e comprehension of her aims, goals and values. Indian women have access to sources of information which are less available to Indian men. They use this information to reformulate their own ideas about their place in the changing environment. Practical possibilities for greater involvement of women in change do exist; however, this involvement trust occur on the women's own terms rather than solely on the terms of individuals who deal with women in an administrative capacity. i i i PREFACE The background material for this thesis comes from research which I did as a research associate of the Canadian Research Centre for Anthropology, which is a f f i l i a t e d with St. Paul University in Ottawa. Research was initiated in October, 1967, with funds from the Centre's grant from the Northern Research Fund of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Deve-lopment. It was continued by a grant from the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. This Commission provided funds for study from January 1968 to September 1968, and for f i e l d study in the Yukon Territory between April and mid-June of that year. I am grateful to the Centre and to the Commission for the opportunity the grants gave me to do this research, and also for allowing me to use background facts from my research for a Masters thesis. During the year I worked closely with Professor Jim Lotz, associate director of the Canadian Research Centre for Anthropology. He has been engaged in northern research in biological, physical and social sciences since 1954. The opportunity to work with him was an invaluable experience, and his encouragement and guidance w i l l always be remembered. In September of 1968 we jointly submitted a report to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. Research involved conversations with Indian women in Ottawa, Toronto, Maniwaki, Edmonton and Vancouver. I was permitted to attend an Ontario Homemakers' Workshop in Sudbury, Ontario, in February of 1968, and part of a Homemakers' Convention in Chilliwack, British Columbia, in April of 1968. iv A period of nine weeks was spent in the Yukon Territory. I wish to thank a l l the women from these areas who gave their time to discuss with me issues with which the report deals. I am particularly grateful to the Indian women living in the Yukon for their helpfulness and for their unforgettable teaching. Special thanks go to Miss Phoebe Nahanni, Mrs. Jean Goodwill, Mrs. Nora Plourde, Mrs. Emma Williams, Mrs. Edna Rose, Mrs. Jessie Scarf, Mrs. Kitty Grant, Mrs. George Jack and Mrs. John Hoyt. I should like to express my appreciation to the staff of Maryhouse for their hospitality and also to Mr. Jim Robb and Mr. F. G. Hammond who have assisted other researchers in the north. Thanks go to the Commissioner of the Yukon and his staff, and to the staff of the Indian Affairs Branch in Ottawa, Vancouver and Whitehorse. Staff members of the Whitehorse General Hospital, the Whitehorse Vocational Institute, the Yukon Hall Residence, and the Coudert Residence were especially helpful. I would like to extend thanks specifically to Miss Eleanore Mollard of the Department of Social Welfare, Miss Una Paine of the Department of National Health and Welfare, and Miss Margaret Kinnear, a l l of whom provided me with transportation and accommodation on different occasions. Thanks go also to Mr. Dave Frazer formerly of the Indian Affairs Branch in Whitehorse, to Mr. Derek Day, for-merly employed by National Museum of Canada, and to the staff of the Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre in Ottawa for helpful suggestions. It is impossible to mention individually a l l those persons both Indian and non-Indian who expressed interest and gave their time to discuss this work with me. Without their assistance this study would not have been possible. Finally I sh ould lik . 6 to ttisnk. Dir* Robin Riddington 3 Df - H. B. H3.wthoirri3 V . and Miss Helga Jacobson of the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia for their helpful comments in the preparation of this thesis. vi,. CONTENTS Page SECTION I: THE INDIAN WOMAN IN CANADA Introduction .. .. .. .. . . . . 1 Method of Research .. .. .. .. .. 8 Traditional Roles of Indian Women .. .. 13 The Need for Research .. .. .. .. 23 Innovation in Situations of Change .. .. 26 Defining the Margin of Choice .. .. .. 30 Possibilities for Off Reserve Innovation .. 38 SECTION II: THE YUKON Historical Context .. .. .. .. 42 Effects on Men .. .. .. .. 48 Restructuring the Family Unit .. .. 51 Maternal and Child Care .. .. .. 57 Education .. .. .. .. .. .. 66 Tensions and Communication .. .. .. 71 A. Tensions .. .. .. .. .. 72 Adaptation of Older Women .. .. 73 Social Control of Younger Women .. 76 Attitudes Toward Drinking .. .. 80 B. Communication Networks: Problems Caused by Change of Location .. .. 82 Kinds of Intermediaries .. ... .. 86 vii-. CONTENTS cont. Page Housing .. .. .. .. .. .. 89 Employment Opportunities .. .. .. 93 Voluntary Associations .. .. .. .. 104 Adult Education .. .. .. .. .. 108 The Larger Content .. .. .. .. 113 Conclusion .. .. .. .. .. .. 119 Appendix I: Family Composition in Ten Yukon Bands .. .. .. 122 Appendix II: The "Indian Aid" Project .. 125 References .. .. .. .. .. 126 Bibliography .. .. .. .. 134 SECTION I: THE INDIAN WOMAN IN CANADA Introduction; "Development" and "modernization" have become key words in the writings of many social scientists since the Second World War. Seldom are the terms defined and when they are, definitions are usually based on an urban ideo-logy, prefaced by an assumption that development involves heavy capital investment and the production of replicas of industrial areas. Only recently have there been attempts to examine whether- such development provides real choices for individuals experiencing the results of this process. Serious discussions of women's roles in change are even more recent. At a United Nations Conference on the Application of Science and Technology for the Benefit of Less Developed Areas, in 1963, the statement was made that: "The burden of reconciling family l i f e with new patterns of urban l i f e rests on women, traditionally the upholders of custom and conservatism in codes of behavior. More f l e x i b i l i t y of mind is demanded of the wife than of the husband. The responsibility of bridging the gap between the old culture patterns and the new ones lies with women. L i t t l e attention has been given to the need to prepare women for family l i f e in change; indeed l i t t l e is known about the new role of women in general" (United Nations 1963: 143). This thesis proposes to examine some of the effects of such changes on the role of Canadian Indian women, particularly those women living in northern communities where the pace of social change is undergoing acceleration. In turn i t is significant to look at the roles which women are taking in directing this process. In this context, I am specifically interested in new opportunities which become available to Indian women, in limitations which circumscribe their choices, and in ways in which they attempt to adapt to new culturally induced stresses. Canada provides an interesting focus for a study of development, because i t can be seen as representing a microscopic model of the inter-national environment. It shares the benefits of technologically advanced countries but also the problems of so-called underdeveloped countries. Having solved most mechanical problems, Canadians are now faced with a series of social problems. The ambiguity surrounding the position of women and the position of the native population in Canada can be seen as indicators of such uncertainty, especially in the north. The Canadian government exercises a rather ambivalent policy toward its northern Territories. A good deal has been spoken and written about the North as though i t were a clearly delineated and safely distant geo-graphical area. In fact, a l l of Canada is a northern country sharing problems which are more clearly focused in the Territories. Northern Indian communities have been the last areas of this country to come in con-tact with the industrial world, and they stand to benefit from or to suffer from this contact. Canada's North is an international environment, bringing together traditional peoples and industrial nations. There, modern mines stand back to back with Athapaskan Indian villages where Indian women s t i l l pack water from rivers. Such dichotomies are becoming public as news media remove Indians from a century of i n v i s i b i l i t y and focus these issues both for Indians and for non-Indians. Canada can either continue to follow the colonial policy which is characteristic of its Indian and Eskimo administration or i t can learn from changes which are occurring in the rest of the world. Governments have traditionally taken on the self-appointed role of decision-maker for native communities, but without providing channels whereby they can learn the reactions to their policies, they have been unable to implement them. It is unrealistic to talk of an "Indian problem" which can be worked out by making Indians dress and behave like Anglo Saxons, yet this theme continues in many development programs which originate with the federal government. In this context i t is interesting to look at what such categories as "progress", "modernization" or "development" mean to an Indian woman on a reserve or in a northern community in terms of the concrete problems she faces each day. How does a northern Indian woman structure space: does the periphery of her world extend beyond the boundaries of her family and i f so, how far? Women are charged with the responsibilities of linking the past with the future in a rapidly changing world which they do not understand themselves. They must keep the family stable enough to with-stand breakdown yet flexible enough to adapt to changing economic pressures. A woman is closely involved with feeding, clothing, and housing her children, as well as with income and with education of children. Yet, as i t w i l l be pointed out, she is seldom consulted about these. A resume of the federal government's policy toward Indians suggests the pattern. The Indian Affairs Branch concerns i t s e l f only with regis-tered Indians, that is with persons descended in the paternal line from Indians who accepted residence rights on reserves or otherwise designated "Indian settlements". Historically, persons of Indian ancestry have been subjected to somewhat erratic administration. A Department of Indian Affairs was created in 1880, but in 1936 Indians were allocated to the Department of Mines and Resources where their affairs were administered until 1950. At that time they were absorbed by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration where they remained a relatively inconspicuous segment of the population. The latest shift of the Indian Affairs Branch to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in 1966 suggests that the federal government currently considers that regional, rather than ethnic, considerations are paramount. By this design the government department in Canada which is responsible for making the area north of the sixtieth parallel economically productive is also the depart-ment charged with administering the affairs of the native population in Canada. The apparent implication is that the Keynesian principles which they apply to economic development are obtainable to social and cultural development. There would appear to be a real danger of linking the people with the region and expecting economic development to be a panacea for human problems. Adaptation; A basic assumption of cultural ecology presupposes that cultures adapt to opportunities and limitations imposed by the physical and cultural environment, and that adaptation involves a process of repeated adjustment to environmental conditions. This is clearly a useful approach to under-standing of traditional isolated Indian cultures. Traditional peoples ideally established the limitations in their environment and worked within them. The process becomes more complicated by the imposition of an industrial society whose members place considerable faith in the ideal that they must exceed a l l limits and control their environment. Traditionally northern Athapaskans lived in an environment where the major limitations on activities were imposed by an unpredictable physical environment. Indians worked out a set of social and cultural adaptations for survival in this environment, including regulation of group size, restraint on aggressive behavior, and mutually beneficial patterns of co-operation. Norman Chance and his associates have begun to examine some implications of the hypothesis that: ". . .as man in the north assumes greater technological 'control' over the natural environment in the sense that his adaptations free him from physical and environmental restrictions which limit his range of choice, the more decisive w i l l be the social and cultural factors in shaping the course of human events" (Chance 1968(a): 14; 1968(b): 18-19). It is possible to hypothesize that these factors impinge differently on the roles of men and women. A striking feature of social change is the new roles which emerge. Neiman and Hughes (1952) , Sarbin (1954) and Banton (1965) have outlined the lack of consistency in the use and definition of the term "role". Linton considered status a named position in the social structure, dis-tinct from the person who occupied i t , and role "the dynamic aspect of status, the blueprint for social action", but he treated the two as inseparable (Linton 1936) . The inadequacy of this definition lies in its failure to deal with social change, the assumption being; that every-one agrees on expected patterns of behavior. His emphasis is on the relationships of individuals to their culture rather than on relation-ships between individuals. Sarbin's attempt to make role observable and independent from status focused on actual behavior, role being a "sequence of learned actions performed by a person in an interaction situation" (Gould and Kolb 1965). Others would c a l l this role behavior. Banton notes that some consensus is emerging: "It is agreed that behavior can be related to a position in the social structure; that actual behavior can be related to the individual's ideas of what is appropriate (role cognitions), or to others' ideas of what he w i l l do (expectations), or to other people's ideas of what he should do (norms). In this light, role may be understood as a set of norms and expectations applied to an encumbent of a par-ticular position". . . and . . . " i t seems sufficient to define roles simply as sets of rights and obligations" (Banton 1965: 28-29) . The latter definition is appropriate in this study which focuses on changes about beliefs about rights and obligations. The problem can be stated as an examination of d i f f i c u l t i e s Indian women encounter in situations of rapid social change, their awareness about these d i f f i c u l t i e s , culturally induced tensions, ways in which they attempt to resolve tensions and the effect which this has on their role, both in their own terms and in terms of those with whom they come in contact. The really significant problem is one of identifying courses of action available to them. They are moving from a personalized society where each individual had a recognized place in relation to others, to a society where individuals are denied such security and are expected to compete against one another. In this new cultural environment they find themselves defined primarily as members of an ethnic group rather than as individuals. Anthropology can be considered the study of alternatives. It attempts to point out differences in ways of l i f e as well as unsuspected similarities, thus broadening ideas about "human nature". In order to operate effectively within one's environment, one must be able to choose a course of action. Such choice requires an awareness of alternatives. This thesis w i l l attempt to outline some alternatives available to women in the past and at present, and to suggest trends which might occur in the future. Any research reflects both the perceptions of the researcher and the specific situations encountered. The limitations of time imposed on this study make i t largely impressionistic and an attempt w i l l be made to sugges possib i l i t i e s rather than to draw firm conclusions. The remainder of section I w i l l deal with the Indian woman's role in the context of Canada, examining what l i t t l e is known of traditional aspects, and discussing some contemporary developments. By considering women not only in Canada but cross-culturally, a broader framework can be provided against which data from the Yukon can be introduced. Section II w i l l then focus on the North and w i l l deal with changes which are affecting women in the Yukon Territory. 8. Method of Research: This study is in no sense a comprehensive ethnography, but rather an attempt at conducting research in an interaction framework with a specific focus in mind, namely, the emergence of new roles. Fundamental to experi-mental science is the axiom that given a similar situation, under similar sets of conditions, one w i l l achieve similar results. The d i f f i c u l t y in social science is that research can neither be totally value free, nor can i t be completely replicated. Physical science deals with inert, quantita-tive matter, whereas in social science the researcher's observations reflect his own perceptions. Both he and his subject matter are dynamic and can change from day to day. It is not possible to control such variables, and mathematical models of behavior, though helpful at the theoretical level, are less applicable at the individual level. There is a need to tie general theory, treated as a body of interpretive principles, with empirical data based on specific experience and to recognize that the two never mirror one another identically, but rather, that one complements the other. A principle recognized in the physical sciences states that one cannot overlook the effect of the interaction between the observer and the phenomena observed. The importance of this is magnified many times in the social sciences since the person being interviewed is equally concerned with defining the role of the researcher. It would not be an understatement to say that most Indian people in Canada have had some contact with an anthro-pologist and that they are justifiably sensitive about being .created as curiosities. My age and sex were advantages, as was the fact that I was there to learn from them and to get their ideas to be used in a study which included a l l women in Canada. Since the majority of research students in the Yukon previously have been men, this role was a relatively neutral one. Because I was interested primarily in qualitative information I avoided the use of questionnaires, tape-recorders and note-taking in interviews and relied on informal discussion and personal observation. This maximized the possibility of women introducing unanticipated material and ensured focusing on problems which they identified, thereby locating areas of stress. In addition, discussions with non-Indian persons were a valuable source of information. Much of the data is subjective and presents the individual's personal point of view, but this is helpful in that i t provides his or her own perception of the topic. The questionnaire approach tends to minimize active participation and to treat persons not as individuals but as digits to affirm or negate an hypothesis. Numerical assessment is of limited value here except in cases where i t is available and can be used as a baseline. Statistics dealing with native women are generally unstandardized, unreliable or unavailable; beyond this, they are static and trends blur individual efforts. The legal definition of "Indian" upon which statistics are based is a questionable one because of status loss by Indian women upon marriage to a non-Indian. The women with whom I talked were those who identified themselves as Indian and who were regarded by non-Indians as Indian, regard-less of the presence or absence of Indian status. Prior to research in the Yukon, I reviewed relevant sources of literature dealing with Indian women and with women in general, and discussed with southern urban Indian women living in Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver their interpretation of their own role and how they f e l t i t was changing. It was also possible to attend a four day workshop of represen-10. tatives from Ontario Homemakers Clubs, and part of a Conference of British Columbia Homemakers. I discussed my area of interest with Anthropologists, Educators, Indian Affairs Branch o f f i c i a l s in Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver, and with persons who had worked on reserves in various capacities, corresponded with Indian women in different parts of Canada and visited the Maniwaki reserve in Quebec. The period of more specific f i e l d research consisted of nine weeks in the Yukon between April 16 and June 17, 1968. Time was a major limiting factor because of the f u t i l i t y of trying to account for the wide diversity in any one area, much less in Canada. The Yukon emerged as a practical possibility for more focused study because of the opportunity i t provided to observe the direct and indirect effects of rapid social change on the people who have spent their whole lives there. The technological development taking place in the Yukon today duplicates structurally a trend which has occurred in many parts of the world, and i t was anticipated that research here might give clearer and better perspective on what has happened and is happening to the woman's role else-where. In the Territory, Whitehorse was chosen as the base for research because of the focal point i t occupies in the territory as the urban centre which affects a l l the villages and to which many of the native people gravitate. While there, I was able to stay at a hostel to which Indian women who are v i s i t i n g Whitehorse on a short term basis,usually as hospital outpatients, are directed. Established in 1954 by a lay Apostolate of the Roman Catholic church, the hostel is intended to serve as an intermediary between the town and village. It also assumes the broader function of providing a situation in which women from different villages come into personal contact with one another. Here I was able to meet women from various villages in the Yukon and northern B.C., talk with them individually, and participate in occasional discussions involving a number of women. The incidence of such general conversations among groups of women depended greatly on the number of women present at any one time (larger groups tending to break down to groups of two or three), their various ages, the villages they came from, whether they had had previous contact with one another, and their personal reaction toward having a non-Indian woman among them. Except in the cases of a few of the older women, English was the language they used in conversation with each other. When opportunities arose to v i s i t villages, I was frequently able to talk with women again in their homes as a personal acquaintance rather than simply as a researcher. Discussions with women in villages proved most feasible when I had met them previously or was introduced to them by someone they knew personally. On other occasions women whom I had met briefly in villages came to the hostel and could identify me as someone they knew. Sometimes I was asked to carry messages between women in town and the village or vice versa, the content of which varied from transmitting oral information to delivering g i f t s . In short, isolated encounters in either village or city proved less significant than did relationships in which some continuity was possible. During my stay in the Yukon I was able to examine the processes as the woman's environment changed from that of the city to that of the v i l l a j and vice versa. Settlements of Teslin, A t l i n , Carcross, Squanga Lake, Pelly Crossing, Dawson City and Ross River were visited in addition to the Whitehorse area. 12. Because of financial and time limitations the length of time spent in any one village, varying from one to eight (non-consecutive) days was too short to attempt an analysis of community structure and efforts were concentrated on getting to know a few women. Through women staying at the hostel, I was able to meet relatives and friends who had moved more permanently to Whitehorse. The f i n a l ten days of the research period were spent living at one of the student residences where Indian students may stay when they came to secondary school in town. Although figures are of l i t t l e relevance because of the unique contri-butions of each individual I talked with over 100 native women (over 15 years of age) and about one third as many men. Conversations varied depending on the context in which we met and the opportunity to see them again. Of these women, 14 live in southern urban c i t i e s , 20 on Indian reserves and 77 in the Yukon. In addition I met a considerably larger number of women with whom extended conversations were not possible. 13. Traditional Roles of Indian Women: There seems to be general agreement among anthropologists currently engaged in northern research that i t is more meaningful to examine the impact of new patterns of interaction among Indians, and between Indians and non-Indians than i t is to romanticize about traditional culture patterns. However, i t is necessary to review briefly some of the available information on the traditional roles of Indian women in different parts of Canada i f only to show the dearth and inconsistency of the data. Although this study is concerned primarily with the roles of women, rather than with their status vis a vis men, much of the literature treats them primarily within this latter framework. Considerable a r t i f i c i a l i t y in the earliest records has arisen from the tendency of the,observer to interpret the position of Indian women in terms of his own culture. These records were often provided by male traders who were barred from the company of women except when women were in the company of their husbands. Traders often projected their own views of women into their narratives. Such accounts, though valuable, must be regarded with caution because of the categorical statements which appear, for example: " . . . Indians look upon the women in a totally different light from what we do in Europe and condemn them as slaves to do a l l the drudgery. I have seen a young chief with no less than three women attendent on him to run after his arrows while he was amusing himself with shooting squirrels: I have also seen Indians when moving from one place to another mount their horses and canter away at their ease, whilst their women were lef t not only to walk but also to carry very heavy loads on their backs after them" (Weld 1799: 412). Such observations ignore the more arduous nature of men's work which was 14. carried on sporadically but involved greater hardship and risk. Women's work was of a more continuous nature but in return they were provided with security. In addition a woman derived personal esteem from being recog-nized as a good worker. Missionaries, who also provided much information about the contact period, were in no better position to gather much reliable data on women. Being there with the explicit purpose of changing the system of beliefs, they often focused on what they considered to be "pathological" aspects of the culture. Anthropologists were more likely to approach cultures as integrated wholes, but many of them, being men, were unable to obtain certain infor-mation about female members of the groups. The majority of their works concurred with the general belief that women were in a position decidedly subordinate to men, and tended to treat them as a residual category, ascribed an inferior status at birth which was to predetermine their fate for l i f e , regardless of individual capabilities. In theory they were perhaps justified in their assumptions, owing to the central importance of the male as food provider, but there is always a gap between theory and practice and i t is important to investigate how closely one approximates the other. Lowie, discussing the concept of status, points out that treat-ment of women is one aspect of the matter, legal status another, and opportunities for public action another. "Great caution must be used in summing up female status in any one society. The conditions involved in the relations of men and women are many-sided and i t is dangerous to over-weight one particular phase of them. Least of a l l should excessive importance be attached to theory. Theory may and does affect practice but only in moderate degree" (Lowie 1920: 188). 15. Jenness, in his classic volume The Indians of Canada portrays the women of various tribes as leading a miserable existence with l i t t l e opportunity to enjoy l i f e : " . . . their lives were f u l l of drudgery at a l l times and their status was very inferior" (1967: 52). As Cooper (1935) points out, "status" includes so many divergent and frequently conflicting elements that generalizations become hazardous. He suggests five such indices: domestic, economic, social, religious and p o l i t i c a l . While one can refer to the status of a person with reference to a specific index at a given time in a given situation, i t is unlikely that any one woman would rank consistently high or low in a l l these areas of behavior even in any given band, much less between tribes. It may well be that the male role lends i t s e l f to greater integration of these indices than does the female role and thus gives the il l u s i o n of control in a l l spheres. Women in a l l societies have been excluded from certain a c t i v i t i e s , usually those defined by men as more interesting and more important. However, bypasses exist in any ongoing system and identification of these leads to greater understanding of how the system operates. Division of a society into a limited number of roles engenders strains and mechanisms arise to prevent these from bursting into outright h o s t i l i t y . The varied cultures of the Indian people provided women with limited but recognizable alternatives both in terms of formal and informal changes in role. In addition to sex, age was an important criterion for organizing social responsibilities: at puberty, marriage, childbirth, and menopause a woman was called on to assume a role which carried clearly defined new role expectations. On the Pacific coast lived semi-sedentary 16. tribes with vast food surpluses providing them with the time and means for a rich ceremonial l i f e and a clearly stratified society. Women born into a high ranking family were automatically accorded recognition, but others could achieve i t less formally by gaining wisdom, and knowledge of the supernatural. Among the buffalo hunting tribes of the Plains, the Sun-Dance festival was held only in honour of a woman's vow to purchase a sacred medicine bundle and such a woman and her husband shared fame and respect. Premarital chastity was demanded by the Blackfoot and Sarcee for women and severe punishment was meted out to deviants. But a woman known to be virtuous in these terms was accorded respect in the community. Because men spent so much time away from home hunting on the Plains, many women assumed the role which Driver calls the "manly hearted woman" in disciplining their children. For this reason, Driver (1961) suggests that on the Plains, the Oedipus h o s t i l i t y was directed toward the mother. In the north and east, migratory hunting groups eked out a meagre existence and therefore lacked elaborate p o l i t i c a l and religious organizations. Here a woman was respected in terms of personal qualities such as her generosity and her a b i l i t y to work hard. Two polar extremes have often been cited in discussions of the status of women in traditional Indian society. A tendency to focus on either of these has formed the basis for a good deal of unreliable genera-lization about Indian women. These are the Iroquoian peoples in the south-east, where women enjoyed considerable prestige, and the Chipewyan, an Athapaskan speaking group in the northwest of Canada where women were not so well treated. The complex reality of the position of women in these 17. two tribes escapes easy understanding, and they are only two of a large number of tribes in Canada. The five Iro^uoian tribes were organized into a series of exogamic clans with descent traced through the female line. Long bark houses (containing up to 20 families) were supervised by a matron, an elderly female who was regarded as family bead. The overall Council (which has served as a model for the League of Nations) was composed of f i f t y chiefs or sachems, each of whom was nominated by the matron in consultation with the women of her clan (Jenness 1967: 135). The matron could depose her nominee i f he proved unsatisfactory. However the formal power was in the hands of men who had to rat i f y her choice of sachem, and no women were on the council. Although this has sometimes been designated as a matriar-chate (a state which Lowie and others have discounted as non-existent) i t appears more like l y , as Jenness suggests, that i t was a male oligarchy with special powers vested in one woman who was family head. The compara-tively high status of Iroquoian women was in great part due to their position as agriculturists. Much of the Iroquois' success in warfare has been attributed to the fact that women did the cultivation and thus main-tained a relatively sedentary population while men were freed for war. Women also built the houses and canoes and manufactured tools and weapons. An Indian historian, Mrs. Ethel Brant Monture, has pointed out that Iroquoian women formed the f i r s t service club in North America (The Three Sisters) in 1600, and were instrumental in bringing into existence the f i r s t Temperance Society among Indians. 18. On the other hand, the Chipewyan were notorious for their brutal treatment of women. Jenness (1967: 386) describes i t thus: "They were separated from a l l boy companions at the age of 8 or 9, married at adolescence often to middle aged men and were always subject to many restrictions. They were the f i r s t to perish in seasons of scarcity. In winter they were more animals unaided as they dragged the heavy toboggans. In the summer, they were pack animals, carrying household goods, food and hides on their backs." Yet other accounts t e l l us that when these women did run away with non-Indian traders, they usually returned in a short time. It took Samuel Hearne three attempts to reach Coronation Gulf and his guide Matonabbe attributed the success of his third venture to the fact that he took women along to help (Oswalt 1966: 23). The men were incapable of making the voyage without the assistance of women on whom they were so dependent. In this context i t is significant that in 1967 in Churchill, Manitoba, a memorial was raised to a Chipewyan woman taken prisoner by the Crees in 1713. Documentation in the Hudson Bay Archives credits her with inter-vening as an intermediary in a long existing feud between the Chipewyans and the Crees which ended in a peace and establishment of Fort.': Churchill (Edmonton Jnl. Dec. 14, 1967). Anthropologists have sometimes attempted to make causal statements about women's position based on examples such as those cited above. A principle advanced in modern physics puts the notion of determinism into broader perspective. Niels Bohr's treatment of the concept of re l a t i v i t y stresses that the extent to which physical phenomena can be observed adequately depends on the frame of reference of the observer (Bohr 1966). Quantum mechanics, which assumes a wholeness in the atomic process, subs^ titutes a frame of reference which goes beyond elementary determinism, so 19. that evidence which appears inconsistent and contradictory at one level becomes complementary at a higher level. The same principle applies to human cultures. Integrity of a culture presupposes a wholeness and in order to understand the way of l i f e of a people we must understand the total frame-work within which they live and work. By substituting the idea of comple-mentarity for r i g i d categories of dominance and submission, we see women assuming interdependent partnership with men, each exercising control over different spheres of activity and working as a team whose roles f a c i l i t a t e one another in co-operation toward a common goal. Given the assumption of interdependence, women gained status in this way and interpretations cannot be made outside this framework. Lowie suggests that the proposition that a woman's status is a sure index of cultural advancement is utterly at variance with the ethnogra-phic data. Personality loses importance as a determinant in more complex cultures where status becomes institutionalized. Flannery (1935) compares the position of Eastern Cree women with that qf Iroquois and finds i t equally prestigious. An Iroquoian woman owned her fields and produce. An Eastern Cree woman who belonged to a migratory band owned and had the right to dispose of game once i t was brought to the lodge. Cree women had as much right to decide whom their daughters would marry as did Iroquoian women. While the latter exercised considerable control in ceremonial acti-v i t y , neither r i t u a l nor politics played an important part in Eastern Cree l i f e , since the mobile family wa>s the functioning unit. Burgesse (1944) found that although a Montaignais woman was theoretically inferior to her husband, she was often the dominant partner. He points out that traders 20. were well aware of the influence she had on her husband's choice of trapping ground and were careful to flatter her. The tie between mother and children was most important since i t was she who gave them their earliest training. The relationship between mother and daughter was of a very permanent nature especially where after marriage the g i r l and her husband stayed with her family group. Matri-locality, where i t occurred, did not mean that the woman herself had more power, only that she had the distinct advantage of protection by her kin group. Brideprice has sometimes been interpreted as an indication that women were considered primarily as an economic commodity who were 'bought' by their prospective husbands. Benedict points out that what was bought was not the woman but rather the prerogatives which she had a right to pass on to her children (1960: 166). In theory polygamy was widespread, but in practice i t was limited to areas where there was a surplus of women, or where a man could afford to support more than one wife. This proved a sound economic principle in that few were l e f t uncared for. The custom of adopting captive women into the local group, common to Iroquois, Cree and some Athapaskan speaking peoples, was an efficient way of increasing the size of the community and and gaining women who could serve as intermediaries and interpreters, where necessary. Landes is one of the few anthropologists who has made a comprehen-sive study of Indian women in Canada (Landes 1938)., She found that among the Ojibwa, institutionalized social norms applied mostly to the activities of men, while female activity was never so rigidly regulated. Men's roles were more public and were culturally defined as more interesting and more important. As on the Plains, formal praise was reserved for men's achievements and part of the woman's role was to be a spectator and provide men with this coveted recognition. Men were trained with specific goals in mind, such as bravery and i n i t i a t i v e , and achieved status in the struc-tured system which they themselves had established by adhering to learned rules. Women learned more informally from association with their mother and other women, and were taught to take domestic initiatives in ways complementary to men; ,;however, because of the absence of rigidly imposed rules about the conduct of the ideal women, they had greater latitude in defining areas in which they wished to operate. "Women who perform masculine work do so with a feeling that they are assuming an additional role, one that is defined as unusually d i f f i c u l t , but one which for them is surrounded with no status aura" (Ibid: 135). She found that women developed a culture distinct from that of men trans-fering certain male values, such as bravery to their own act i v i t i e s . Women neither competed with men, nor considered themselves subjugated by them, but rather carried out certain responsibilities and obligations in return for certain rights and privileges. Much interpretation of the traditional roles of Indian women can only be speculative, since most ethnographies were compiled well after the contact period. It would seem that the whole question of status has been overemphasized in an unrealistic attempt to quantify data, and that a subject of greater interest would be the execution of role in the specific culture. In general, men defined the positions in the social structure and occupied them. They dictated the rules which consequently bound them. Women had a greater variety of unstandardized channels available to them and were able to exercise individual i n i t i a t i v e to a greater extent. This lack of formulation in their role may well have equipped them for adaptation to certain aspects of social change. 23. The Need for Research: Within recent years, the Federal Government has become aware of the need to conduct research prior to introducing programs of planned social change. In a male dominated and male oriented society, the government has been concerned primarily with areas most susceptible to administration and has tended to focus on the social and economic roles of men and on the formal education of children. In many resulting studies, women are overlooked or, at best, given peripheral treatment as family members. Where they are considered at greater length, there is a tendency to focus on alcoholism, prostitution and illegitimacy, and to treat these in a pathological sense rather than to consider stabilizing influences women may have. Women are the ones lef t on the reserves when men leave for wage employment, and children for school. Because women receive information from men, children and each other, they are often in the best position to know what is happening. This is recognized on a number of Indian reserves: as of March 18, 1968, there were 10 female chiefs and 174 female coun-c i l l o r s in Canada. (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development). In general, when reference is made to the "loss of Indian culture" this is stated in terms of men's roles as economic provider; women's displace-ment from traditional tasks has been less drastic than has men's but there is s t i l l a gap to be f i l l e d . Hawthorn, Belshaw and Jamieson (1958) suggested that the whole question of sex and status in Indian communities needed study. In the recent Survey of the Contemporary Indians of Canada (Hawthorn 1966) the authors used as a main source of data a Resources Questionnaire which the 24. Economic Development Division of the Indian Affairs Branch prepared and distributed in 1964. This questionnaire does not separate men from women, though such information, i f available would be extremely valuable. The recently published report Indians and the Law (Canadian Corrections Association 1967) deals l i t t l e with the problems faced specifically by women. The Advisory Commission on the Development of Government in the Northwest Territories, also known as the Carrothers Commission, (Canada 1965) involved relatively few women: only 6 of 47 briefs and 10 of the 144 submissions were presented by women although the Commission was dealing with social and economic changes which would greatly affect the woman's position in the family. Because of a structured British tradition and post-war policy of veteran preference, the number of women employed in responsible positions in the Indian Affairs Branch has been limited until recent years. The tendency to lump adult Indians as an undifferentiated group and the failure to recognise that different policies evoke different res-ponses from women than from men has created d i f f i c u l t i e s which might have been circumvented had the planners considered the interests of both sexes. This has been costly not only in financial but in human terms. Assessment of relocation projects among Eskimos (Stevenson 1967) and Indians (Bond 1968) show that lack of success in many ways can be attributed to psycho-logical strains experienced by women. Unlike their husbands who were employed in new wage work, these women had no formal model to follow and continued to behave as though they were in a northern situation. Discon-tent and boredom on the part of women has caused serious problems of adjust-25. merit in their new setting. Twenty Indian families were brought to E l l i o t Lake because of access to housing, employment, and a Centre for Continuing Education. Material advantages were made readily available to them but the modern conveniences meant that none of women's usual work was necessary or even possible to f i l l the day, and that tasks formerly done in groups had to be done alone. Classes in instruction were given to the women between 9 and 11 in the evening. Because the women were not content they could give their husbands no encouragement. The film Relocation at E l l i o t Lake (National Film Board 1967) examines certain aspects of the program in i t s i n i t i a l stages. There was l i t t l e attempt by the townspeople interviewed to welcome the Indian families and the idea that i f they were going to be accepted they must use "our rules and out point of view" was expressed. Women were shown in an unfamiliar classroom situation being advised by a female councillor not to buy tight clothes and to wear a good girdle. Such values were meaningless in terms of past experience: as long as they were being taught that they must do a l l the changing, there was no possibility of contributions on their part. Nine of the original twenty families in this project returned to their reserve, although greater success was achieved with later families when the approach was revised. Failure of the original project was attributed by many of the townspeople to apathy on the Indians' part. What they failed to recognize is that this so-called "apathy" signifies the minimal importance attached to the material values of the non-Indian culture, when these conflict with their own perceived needs of co-operation, sociability and meaningful activity. 26. Innovation in Change: Certain cross-cultural and historical evidence of situations in which the woman's role has undergone considerable reinterpretation suggests the hypothesis that when the structure of a society is rapidly altered, and a c r i s i s is perceived, men become voluntarily or involuntarily drawn into new kinds of activity, and opportunities for women expand. As men assume new responsibilities and obligations they w i l l of necessity relinquish control over areas which they formerly governed, thereby leaving certain niches available for women. As early as the Punic wars, women gained experience in running the institutions l e f t behind when men moved into battle. During the f i r s t World War barriers against women in industry were lowered as men joined the armed forces. The suffragettes who had originally been actively anti-war now expressed willingness to contribute to the war effort and were enabled to move into areas where they could prove their a b i l i t y to work as well as men. As their capabilities were recognized in the economic sphere, there carne an accompanying accept-ance of their rights in social and p o l i t i c a l spheres. (See Nottingham 1947). Crises such as war and depression do influence long term trends for redefinition of the woman's role. The c r i t i c a l state perceived by Canadian Indians is of a different kind but i t is extremely important in the overall pattern of change in Canada. As the impact of change is f e l t at the local level, new tensions and strains impinge on the family. Those men who are earning wages spend more and more time away from the reserve or village. Women, traditionally ascribed a more conservative role than men, have less to lose and more to 27. gain by trying to achieve in the new system and are often in a position to innovate and create new roles for themselves. Chance describes innovation as: "a process by which new cultural elements are added or elements are altered in their function, their form or their meaning . . . the central innovative process is reinterpretation or recombination . . . The culture is'expanding", new "needs" have to be f i l l e d and new "functions" emerge: addition rather than replacement seems to be prevalent, although the second is by no means absent. This is the problem of "continuity and change", of what remains the same and what is altered over a defined period of time" (Chance 1966: 27). At f i r s t glance, innovation and conservatism would seem to be diametrically opposed approaches to social change; yet the usefulness of the "conservative innovator" has been demonstrated in a number of countries undergoing moderni-zation. (See Bennett 1967: chapter 11). Innovation can often be carried out most successfully by those who can work within the existing framework and avoid resistance of established interests. This in turn requires an understanding of the limitations within which one works and the ab i l i t y to bridge the culture gap. Volatile women who demand change w i l l no doubt meet greater resistance from their people than w i l l those who are able to adapt individually to new circumstances and provide a less threatening model for others. It is valuable to consider this in a broader cross-cultural context. Few nations have resolved the equivocal interpretations of the "status" of their women. Legislation varies, but such theoretical rights are meaningless unless women are given the freedom to express and act on their opinions. In Eastern Europe there has been an attempt to complement legislation with programmes which actually provide women with the opportunity to innovate. 28. "The goal now is not the adaptation of women to a man's world, nor the equating of men and women. It is to evaluate the ab i l i t i e s of women and to create for them conditions which w i l l permit their f u l l participation in society" (Chylinska 1968: 71). The January, 1968 issue of the Annals of the American Academy of  Po l i t i c a l and Social Science was devoted to an assessment of the position of women throughout the world. There is a tendency in these articles for women in western society to espouse the competitive ethic and to be concerned with the quantitative rates of their formal participation in positions of p o l i t i -cal power. In- the newly developing countries there is greater interest in trying to define complementary roles women can take effectively within the existing framework. Rakasataya (1968) suggests that this urge to compete seems most prominent in countries where women made a late entry into a p o l i t i c a l system set up by men. In the west, equality of the sexes has often emerged as an ethical question of rights to be fought for, apart from any more fundamental issues. The competitive ethic has l i t t l e precedent in Canadian Indian society or in other cultures where women traditionally worked through the medium of the family and apparently judged this adequate to meet their needs. In the Middle East and Africa women had a number of traditional restrictions which s t i l l greatly limit activity outside the home, yet many of the new regimes effectively work for p o l i t i c a l reforms through women's associations (See Ungor 1968; Brooks 1968). In Japan more than 40% of the women over the age of 20 belong to one or more women's organizations (Fugita, 1968). The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture has a staff of 1000 female o f f i c i a l s who work with rural women in their homes giving advice and demonstrations, 29. helping to organize co-operatives, cooking centres, day nurseries, laundries and health centres (Lanier 1968). In F i j i a "woman's interest program" led to the proliferation of women's clubs and generated interest in their role in the community (Norris 1968). In Ceylon, 1000 students registered for a course in food preservation and then returned to their communities to teach others; consequently tons of food were saved and women became aware of what such savings could mean (Lanier 1968). In areas a l l over the world, such projects as literacy classes, vocational training, public speaking, leadership training, sanitation, family planning, voting procei dures, budgeting, etc. are being organized through women's groups. It would appear that in many countries the government has attempted to communi-cate with the people through women as intermediaries, the methods depending directly on the cultural background. The number and diversity of ways in which women are being, involved in the development process elsewhere in the world provides some ideas for Indian women in Canada. However, some crucial questions have f i r s t to be answered. 30. Defining the Margin of Choice: Two major questions emerge in considering the extent to which Indian women are able to operate within the existing framework: 1. To what extent can women locate areas of stress and identify possible solutions? 2. What margin of choice does and Indian woman see available to her and how does she increase this margin? Many Indian women are finding that in order to operate within the existing Canadian context as individuals, a comparative basis is necessary. A possibility being tested in southern Canada is that of collusion with the explicit purpose of exchanging ideas and discussing problems. Homemakers Clubs gained recognition f i r s t in Saskatchewan between 1910 and 1917, not as an Indian group but as a medium through which suffragists diffused propaganda aimed at extension of voting privileges to women (Cleverdon 1950). The idea was adopted by the Indian Affairs Branch, and in 1937, Indian Homemakers Clubs came into being in the same province. Subsequently these spread to other provinces between 1941 and 1946 under Branch sponsorship with the expressed prupose of involving women in community action. In November, 1955, there were 163 of these groups in Canada; by 1956 a record of 185 was reached. Ten years later only 86 were s t i l l wholly or partly active. By January of 1968, the number had risen to 125 (IAB). The Branch sees these clubs as the primary medium of communication with Indian women. There are now, in Canada, 2274 reserves (77 of which are Indian settlements not classified as reserves) , and more than 54,000 Indian women over the age of sixteen. The small number of Homemaker's Clubs obviously cannot function as a major means of communica-tion. Beyond this, there is the problem of "administration". The Branch is pressured to produce observable programmes which are s t a t i s t i c a l l y impressive, and the tendency is to assume that a logical way to do this by organizing a structured group. The trends in Homemaker's Clubs show di f f i c u l t i e s involved in trying to do this through "the administration." General lack of interest in these clubs in the east has been attributed by many women in part to IAB control and non-Indian leadership. The original constitution of 1950 was ri g i d in outline and provided l i t t l e scope for involvement. The emphasis on a constitution is representative of a shift from the oral to the written tradition (the precedent being the Indian Act) and to the doctrine that rules, once written down,will be observed. A number of problems involved in mobilizing such groups and encouraging parti cipation were discussed at a workshop of 14 delegates from Homemakers Clubs in Ontario (Feb. 19-22, 1968) at which the primary purpose was to change this constitution. Some d i f f i c u l t i e s that were discussed at length at the workshop indicated the dilemma of using the clubs as vehicles of change. These problems are by no means unique to organizations of Indian women and represent problems which must be overcome in any community action program. On many reserves the club is a focal point for women leaders active in other groups such as the P.T.A., Community Development Association, Home and School Association, church groups, etc. A l l of these work within a framework set up by the church, school or IAB. Although the Homemakers Club is a potentially flexible organization on the reserve, i t s usefulness in easing the strains of change depends on the club's a b i l i t y to operate independently of outside controls. Otherwise they may be perceived by other women either as a superfluous group or a puppet organization. Active community leadership is often suspect and may lead to accusations of publicity-seeking. In groups with a small membership there is a tendency to family control, with women enlisting daughters and daughters-in-law to support them and their projects. To the extent that club activity is interpreted as a family faction, other women may refuse to join. The generation gap may cause problems of co-ordinating aims and leadership. On one northern reserve, a club was very active at one time; as younger women joined, a schism developed, older women l e f t , finances were exhausted and the club became inactive. Meanwhile an independent group was begun by twelve women who raised money by marketing craftwork. Such an alternative was seen as more satisfying in that i t bypassed outside control. On reserves close to urban centres women state that as cars, buses, bingos, television and alcohol become accessible, community activity declines. As the concept of navigable space increases, the local reserve loses i t s former position as a focus of interest. Conflicting responsibilities may prevent women,who work, or married women with children, from participating because of other time commitments. Frequently husbands object to their wives attending such meetings. On a reserve in B.C. one club resolved this latter d i f f i c u l t y by enrolling their husbands as members. As in other matters, concerning Indians, IAB has often attempted to guide women by imposing aims and goals from outside. Not a l i t t l e of this can be attributed to subtle competition between provincial divisions to see "whose Indians are doing best". This was brought to my attention by 33. two women working at provincial levels of administration who considered i t a major pressure in their work. The definition of "best" creates problems. At the policy level i t is now stated that the trend is to encou-rage women to reformulate their goals and become more independent in out-look. In practice much of this independence which is emerging is not welcomed by Senior Branch o f f i c i a l s . One Indian woman, employed in a responsible position at the Ottawa level, was released from duty shortly after she participated in a march which resulted from a conference of native women in Alberta. The stress between the head office and the f i e l d staff that marks a l l bureaucracies has become increasingly evident in recent years as change at the centre and change at the edges has proceeded at different paces. This was further demonstrated recently in British Columbia when a Branch employee who had made considerable strides in adult education working directly with British Columbia Homemakers was removed from the f i e l d despite the. protests of the women. The incident touched off a more general protest march in Vancouver in June of 1968 which was suppor-ted by a l l 52 Homemakers clubs in that province. Development implies making comparisons. Indian women who attend conferences come away with new ideas and new impressions of how to behave. Traditional societies were, in the main, isolated societies with few opportunities for comparison. The conference provide opportunities for the continuation of the oral tradition and dialogue. Of the conference of Indian women in Saskatchewan (Nov. 6-10, 1967) i t was said "Although many of the 60 delegates had never attended a conference or spoken in public before, they weren't hesitant about speaking up. No punches were pulled and no subject was taboo" (Regina Leader Post, Nov.10, 1967). Having 34. had the individual experiences of finding solutions to daily problems on their own reserves, the dialogue permitted at a conference gave them an opportunity to see their own situation in a larger context, moving i t from a local to a regional frame of reference. At this conference there was discussion about such issues as living conditions, child neglect, old age, recreation, alcoholism, illegitimacy, education, school dropouts, need for pre - and post-natal care and need for community leadership (Sask. Indian Women's Conference Report, 1967). The women seemed to become aware, as these issues were more clearly defined, of their roles and responsibilities in solving their own problems. Speakers stressed the important role women had played in the past and could play in the future. Statements made by an Indian woman speaker included: "the Indian nation as never before in it s life-span needs the services, the a b i l i t i e s , the understanding, the back-hone and the tongues of Indian women." and ". . . i t is time for us Indian women to loosen our tongues, to speak out, and i t is time for us to give our children a better break and a happier home l i f e . " (Mrs. Mary Ann Lavallee: p. 10) This attempt to create group consciousness was strengthened by a male Indian speaker: "Our culture is that women should be in the home, but in this day and age when modern l i f e is so complicated and Indian people are being called on to enter the mainstream of society, we need teamwork. Both the Indian husband and wife need each others resources to make a good home. So the male and female outlook in the composition of the council is necessary today . . . This partnership is needed. Team approach is a must." (Mr. Ahab Spence: p. 8) The meeting was concerned not only with social but also with p o l i t i c a l roles, and a brief was drawn up and presented to the Saskatchewan Minister 35. of Welfare requesting that child welfare services be transferred from Federal to Provincial jurisdiction and extended to Indian reserves. The Alberta Native Women's Conference was an even more dramatic success in the participants' terms in that i t included both Indian and Metis women, and directly involved more native women from the i n i t i a l stages of planning. The necessity to look for qualities of women in the past in order to redefine the role of women in the future was again stressed by speakers. This recurrent theme is not dissimilar to that of Buckminster Fuller in his assessment of the role of 21st century women. "It is one of those facts of our experience that when we try to think into the future our thought jump backward. It may well be that nature has some fundamental law by which opening up what we called the future also automa-t i c a l l y opens up in the past in equal degree . . . I am convinced that the best predictions regarding women in the twenty-first century w i l l be arrived at through reviewing the largest possible sweep in history" (Fuller 1968!:, 13). Again this outlook returns to the concept of a woman's potential as a conservative innovator. Women were pinpointed at the conference as the logical ones to increase the amount of communication between Indian and non-Indian and thus make a major step toward understanding and exchange 1 of knowledge. The most significant aspect of the conference was the ab i l i t y demonstrated by the women to move directly from theory to action. The I am grateful to Mrs. Jean Goodwill for an tapes of the conference. opportunity to listen to 36. conference coincided with the announcement by the government (Mar. 8, 1968) that medical and health services for Indians might be curtailed. About two hundred and f i f t y women participants marched on the Provincial Legislature and presented a brief protesting the fact that Federal and Provincial govern-ments were currently negotiating an issue which directly affected Indian people without consulting the latter and were considering Indian people as a "moral obligation" rather than as human beings. The conference in our society had come to represent a gathering which seldom achieves concrete results. Discussion generally remains at the theoretical level and participation is at best cathartic. The ab i l i t y to move from theory to practice, so unusual today in a society where the breach is becoming a r t i f i c a l l y widened, was demonstrated by these women in efforts to achieve immediate practical results rather than to speak simply in terms of far-reaching abstract goals. In addition they prepared a brief to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women compiled from ideas in a suggestion box. The twenty eight recommendations focused on extension of health ser-vices and requests for information about existing services, educational reform both at child and adult levels, and further identified a number of areas where technical advice and assistance were needed. It is significant that none of the recommendations dealt with issues concerning only women, the focus being on family and community. As one of the participants explained later : "White women are concerned with issues like divorce and abortion. We aren't ready for that. We have much more immediate needs that involve the whole reserve and con-sider these problems much more relevant." Access to the mass media enabled these women to disseminate messages beyond the immediate group to the general public. "News reporting was good", one of the participants stated, "but no one could possibly convey the feeling that was there when we came from isolated reserves and suddenly met women who f e l t the same way we did. It's one thing to write 'Indian Women March in Protest' and another to know what i t meant." The crucial accomplishment here was the a b i l i t y to broaden their indivi-dual comparative bases and channel the results of accumulated tension into concerted activity toward a common goal that they had defined them-selves. As such, the conference became a tool for the mobilization of group strength which gained urgency and expressed i t s e l f in immediate demands for change. Stress is beneficial when i t leads to a search for alternatives, but without recognizable results in return, i t w i l l be redirected in other less positive ways. 38. Possibilities for Off-Reserve Innovation; Individually, a number of women are finding i t possible to increase their comparative experience by moving off the reserve to urban centres. Lagasse (1959) dealt extensively with problems that native women faced in Winnipeg: the majority were not equipped with the education or experience to prepare them for city l i f e . On the other hand, an increasing number of women are now coming as students or in professional capacities to the city and find considerable diversity in choices of action. One young native woman who came south from the Northwest Territories explained that she considered i t necessary for Indian young people to understand aspects of both the Indian and non-Indian culture prior to deciding what kind of l i f e they wanted to choose. It is often among women who have experienced the di f f i c u l t i e s of transition from the reserve to the city and who have been able to adjust to t u i s , that the greatest scope for innovation comes. These women are women of two worlds - the traditional and the modern. They can be seen as "entre-aides" in the processes of change. Paine (1967) discusses the role of the "culture broker", and defines him or her as "one who purveys values from one group or another with purposeful changes of emphasis and/or content". It is often easier for a woman to move from the Indian to the non-Indian culture and to stay there than i t is for a man. Indian women who marry non-Indian men lose their Indian status and inevit-ably leave the reserve. No matter whom an Indian man marries, he always 39. 1 remains an Indian. Women who have been exposed to both cultures, through marriage or less formal associations, are frequently able and willing to bridge the culture gap and to interpret the values which they consider important from one culture to another in an intermediary position. They can select from the two cultures. In many cases these women feel marginal to both cultures: their a b i l i t y to sort the myths from the facts fosters conflicting indentities. They are often advised to "go back to the reserve and help their people", yet they recognise an equally great need for education off the reserve. A number of these women have indicated strongly that their goal is to reverse the usual process of teaching the Indians and rather, to educate the "Whiteman" to listen. At the same time they are willing to learn certain aspects of the non-Indian culture in order to strengthen the usefulness of their intermediate position. Of three native female University students with whom I discussed this topic, one was studying economics, another history, and a third had been accepted at a Canadian University to study p o l i t i c a l science. The non-Indian system of government which has been imposed on them is interpreted as a game in which the rules are largely undefined and which involves elements •1-A non-Indian man, married to an Indian woman can move onto the reserve only with special permission of the band council; otherwise he is legally a trespasser. However, he cannot own land or build a house. His wife cannot own property since she has given up her property rights by marrying a non-Indian. Further problems arrive with children since they are not e l i -gible for the same type of schooling as other children on reserves where special Indian schools exist. 40. of both strategy and chance. In order to maximize the former and mini-mize the latter, they recognize the value of combining their own knowledge of how the rules are used with the technical knowledge of how they can be used. The way in which these women interpret and act out their roles as "entre-aides" or "culture brokers" varies greatly, depending on their personality, the area in which they l i v e , and the groups and individuals with whom they choose to work. A number of women have taken the role of animators by speaking out publicly, in order to increase the general level of awareness about problems Indian people face. To the extent that they realize that on one is qualified to speak on behalf of Indians as a united group, the most effective act less as spokesmen for Indian people than as instigators. ! One Indian woman who discussed this was organizing a program for rural g i r l s coming to Toronto to introduce them to the 'rituals' she herself faced when she f i r s t came from a reserve - f i l l i n g in application forms, using transportation f a c i l i t i e s , etc. She included both Indian and non-Indian g i r l s to break down the dichotomy between them. Another g i r l had organized a group of Indian students in her city to give them personal contact with one another and a chance to discuss common d i f f i c u l t i e s . An Indian woman who has headed an Indian Friendship Centre and later co-edited an Indian newspaper now does considerable public speaking and has lectured in a University Community Development course. Another woman worked with her husband on a northern Ontario reserve for a year, conduc-ting adult education courses. She later provided technical assistance to a group of Indian women on a reserve in Quebec who were interested in organizing a program to teach the Algonkian language to their children. 41. None of these is an isolated instance, but rather represents some of the roles Indian women are defining for themselves in cities throughout Canada. Common to a l l these women is their unwillingness to work within the limited confines of a system where aims and goals are established by outside authorities. 42. 'SECTION II: THE YUKON Further elaboration of innovative roles which women are assuming in Canada risks the d i f f i c u l t y of ignoring the conditions which produced the changes. In the north, the transition from the stone age to the jet age is being experienced by a single generation. The north cannot be separated from the larger Canadian context, but compressed rates of change have made the problem more acute there. In Canada as a whole, Indians comprise one per-cent of the population; in the Yukon, registered Indians alone account for 20% of the total and there are a considerable number of persons of Indian ancestry who are not registered. The Historical Context: Indians living in the Yukon lack the distinct t r i b a l a f f i l i a t i o n s more common in southern Canada. With the exception of three villages designated as 'Inland Tlingit' at Teslin, Carcross and At l i n (the latter in northern B.C.), an isolated Kutchin band at Old Crow, and Tahltans in northern B.C. who also come under the jurisdication of the Yukon Indian Agency, settlements are of heteregeneous composition. Any common identity derives from a similar traditional past involving seasonal hunting and gathering with loose contact between migrating groups, a common technology developed in response to the rigorous demands of the physical environment, a shared phratry system stemming from that of the Tlingit, and to a certain extent, a common Athapaskan language structure which is fast disappearing or being modified even among older people. Linguistic considerations seem to have been the paramount criterion for their earliest classification 43. (Osgood 1934, 1936). The completion of the Alaska highway in 1943, and the disappearance of the steamboats from the rivers have localized the Yukon Indians in settlements along the highway and the road to Mayo and Dawson. Today, the majority identify themselves in relation to the village in which they l i v e , rather than by a trib a l designation. It would appear that considerable dissemination of customs took place between Tlingit and Athapaskan speaking peoples through early trading contacts. Significant here is matrilineal descent which originated among the Tlingit in Southern Alaska and spread south to the Tahltan and inland to the Tutchone, Kutchin and Kaska populations. Briefly, the Tlingit were divided into exogamous matrilineal moieties based on real or putative kinship with mutual obligations toward one another which assumed greatest importance at ceremonial potlaches. Although patrilineal sib recognition did cut across the Crow and wolf moieties, a man was linked with his mother's kin for descent and inheritance (See McClellan 1954). Tanner attributes considerable spread of custom to the fact that the entrepreneurial Tlingit traders stabilized trading relations by offering Tlingit women to Atha-paskan men as marriage partners. Such links between hostile groups served to prevent the outbreak of open war in many cases by loosely linking Athapaskans into the system of kinship obligations: ". . . i t turns on the point that marriages took place between Tlingits and Athapaskans, or more importantly that Tlingit women married Athapaskan men because women are structurally more important in the matrilineal kinship system. Such marriages were more numerous than the other kind and more important and enduring since the practice of Tlingit men marrying inland women was associated with other temporary liaisons, such as stealing or borrowing women which took place during trading expeditions. Those men who did marry inland did not take their wives back with them and thus they rarely saw them" (Tanner 1965: 29). 44. Although the moiety system of descent reckoning is fading, i t has not entirely disappeared, especially in the Tlingit villages. Among the women who remained at home and have not undergone prolonged separation from their parents in residential schools there is s t i l l recognition that they are either Crow or Wolf, that they are more closely linked with their mother's kin than with their father's, and consequently, a marriage between two Crows or two Wolves has incestuous implications. The folklore associa-ted with their particular moiety can s t i l l be recounted by many women over 35 but they recognize that the children are losing interest in i t ; one woman noted "they hear from the white kids that i t ' s just superstition and they get embarrassed about i t " . Discussions with several girls at a Whitehorse student residence confirmed this. Most girls are unaware of the moiety to which they belong and those who are acknowledge that i t has no significance for their friends. "At f i r s t I was really shocked when I came here because my mother had always taught me that i t was really important" one g i r l admitted. "Most of the gir l s didn't even seem to know what I was talking about when I said I was Crow. I guess that i t ' s really not a l l that important anymore." Several discussions with women of different age groups further substantiated this trend, linking i t with urbanization rather than with age. A 39 year old Tlingit woman who lives in a village and identifies strongly with her own moiety admits that she is suspicious of members of the opposite moiety. The decline in ceremonial reciprocity has broken down interdependence between the two groups and seems in some cases to,have been replaced by a certain lack of trust. She herself is married to a non-Indian. Another woman of about the same age who lives in the city 45. married an Indian man from a different tribe but of the same moiety four-teen years ago. Although her parents and some of the older people in her village registered disapproval they did not forbid the union. It is perhaps significant that she lives in town and does not plan to t e l l her children about the moiety divisions. A 20 year old woman who lived with her parents in the village until her marriage to a non-Indian mentioned that her mother would have been very upset had she married someone from the same moiety. In contrast, a g i r l of the same age who moved from the village to attend high school and has remained in town since that time has been dating a man from the same tri b a l background as herself for some time. She states that although her mother knows that they may marry eventually, she has never asked his moiety a f f i l i a t i o n and the couple themselves have never discussed i t . Although one of the woman's major roles traditionally was to choose a husband for her daughter, voluntary mate selection has replaced this and arranged marriages are non-existent. One woman recalled that as late as 1944, when she was 15 years old, a husband was chosen for her and she rejected him in order to be able to choose her own partner. Certain conflicts experienced elsewhere in Canada were avoided in the Yukon. The majority of the native population remained detached observers during the Gold Rush (1896-98) and after the goldseekers lef t they expressed interest in learning certain aspects of the Whiteman.'s technology. Innovation became necessary in adaptation and Indian women sometimes married Whitemen in a continuing process of stabilization and alliance. However, as elsewhere in the country, with the Whiteman came 1The term "Whiteman" or "White" is used here following King (1967) to designate a l l non-Indians. It is the category most frequently used by Indian persons to refer collectively to members of the dominant culture. 46. disease. The 1895 census estimated the Indian population at 2600. By 1912 the Indian population was 1838 and in 1929 i t sank to 1264. By 1965 the population figure was 2460 and indications are that i t is growing steadily (The Yukon Today 1968: p.l). The number of persons born Indian and later enfranchised brings the total considerably higher. In addition there are a growing number of persons of mixed blood who identify themselves and are identified by non-Indians as "Indian". Non-Indians seldom concern themselves with legalisms in this matter: an Indian is someone who "behaves like an Indian". The Yukon Indian Agency also includes an estimated 1000 additional Indians in northern B.C. Although they may have remained peripheral to the Gold Rush and the Alaska highway construction, the native population can no longer be ignored today. Their future is more intimately linked with the Yukon than is that of many of the non-Indian entrepreneurs who plan to 'clean up and clear out 1. The Indian Act (Gov't of Canada 1952) which was arbitrarily structured to correspond with the social structure of some Indian tribes in southern Canada exhibits some startling inconsistencies when applied to the Yukon. Although traditionally there were no "bands" in the Yukon, sixteen were created in the interests of administrative expediency. No formal hierarchies existed traditionally beyond the family unit (except among the coastal Tlingit migrants) and the chief, too, became a Whiteman's innova-tion. A chief was a handy person for the distant Ottawa-based bureaucracy to deal with; he became someone who could translate government aims to the band but not vice versa. No treaties were signed in the Yukon and no reserves exist. Areas are set aside for Indians, but these are not reserves 47. in the legal sense. This causes considerable confusion in legislative matters when, for example, Indians are charged with liquor offences under the Indian Act (sect. 94b) and fined for alcohol consumption off a non-existent reserve. There are.no band funds in the Yukon. Most confusing is the legal definition whereby "Indianness" is traced through the paternal line by Whiteman's Law and through the maternal line by Indian custom. The children of a woman who marries a man without Indian status are classified legally as non-Indian and informally as "White". Frequently they are accepted neither by Whites nor by Indians, even among groups where descent was traditionally matrilineal. The problem of ethnic identity is a common one in cross-cultural encounters. 48. The Effects on Men: Provision of financial assistance to Indians as direct r e l i e f , aid to dependent children, and educational f a c i l i t i e s , in addition to such services as family allowance, old age pension, unemployment and disabil i t y insurance available to a l l Canadians (though referred to as "welfare" when applied to the Indian population) has had different effects on men and on women. Social welfare programs were never co-ordinated with programs of economic development, and do l i t t l e more than maintain the family at a minimal level of subsistence, especially in the north where food prices are substantially increased by transportation and other costs. For women the original transitional period was less drawn out as they were able to live longer within the protective circle of primary relationships. Indian men have been forced to compete economically with Whitemen and with a few notable exceptions, lack the s k i l l s defined as necess-ary in the North today. Efforts to make them "productive citizens" without specifying just what is to be produced, and for whom, results in their being absorbed into jobs at the bottom of the economic hierarchy which offer l i t t l e of the psychological satisfaction provided by their traditional roles. As McLuhan aptly notes: "Work, however, does not exist in the non-literate world. The primitive hunter and fisherman did no work any more than does the poet, painter or thinker of today. Where the whole man is involved there is no work" (1964: 138). In the north perhaps more than in the rest of Canada, the alternative of hunting and trapping is s t i l l recognised by some men as a possibility, but many younger men no longer possess the necessary s k i l l s or equipment. 49. Although this activity requires a high level of knowledge and training, i t is downgraded by the larger society. Blishen's socio-economic index rates 320 occupations in Canada put hunting and trapping at the bottom (Blishen 1967) and shows the fallacy of imposing categories created by individuals from one cultural background on activities performed by persons of another background. In many cases the hunt has assumed aspects of an almost mythical r i t u a l . During the period of f i e l d study from mid-April to mid-June, the beaver hunt was in progress. As late as the middle of May, men were s t i l l preparing to "go out in a few days." A discussion with a Hudson Bay fur buyer confirmed that the price of a beaver pelt drops from $35.00 for a good pelt in February to a maximum of $15.00 in mid-May, both in relation to the seasonal fur cycle and market saturation. Silver fox, worth up to $1000.00, f i f t y years ago, now brings $10.00 a pelt. Only $40.00 is paid for a good, tanned moose hide. Reluctance to hunt is increased by the ina b i l i t y of women with children in school to accompany men, since former task complemen-tarity breaks down. Men explain that when i t is necessary to do the skinning, dressing and tanning themselves, the prices offered are not adequate compensation. Feelings of frustration among men who s t i l l hunt and trap are aggravated by the rejection which the younger women display toward them. The latter are becoming disenchanted and increasingly practical about the possibility of living by hunting alone. One young woman of 20 who had left school and returned to the village commented: "There isn't a single man in this village I could get interested in. A l l they do is talk about hunting and every year fewer go. Any man in this village could get a job i f he really wanted to. I'm going to get away from here as soon as I can and enjoy l i f e . " 50. Similarly a southern B.C. Indian woman married to a non-Indian and living in the Yukon remarked: "These men are emasculated. It was the same on our reserve at home. I would never have married an Indian man and I wouldn't want my daughter to". The realization that many Indian women are unsympathetic creates a further barrier between the man and his environment, and mutual rejection patterns are built up. Men,, especially those over 35 are equally c r i t i c a l of the women who are no longer willing to become a "traditional" wife. In many villages there are noticeably more unattached Indian men than there are single marriageable girls over the age of 18. Many g i r l s , like the one just mentioned, have either le f t the village, or plan to leave at least for a while: i t is easier for a g i r l to move elsewhere, get a job and meet a variety of men than for an unskilled man to get employment and meet other 1 women. For some indication of numbers of unmarried men in Yukon Indian bands see Appendix 1. 51. Restructuring the Family Unit: The women seem less willing to compromise than do many men. Linked with women's increasing independence in the Yukon is the changing composi-tion of many households and emerging 'matrifocal' family consisting of a widowed, separated or unmarried woman and her children. The women are looking for alternatives to their situation and i f the men cannpt perform economically women are in a position to evict them temporarily or permanently. In a sense the women live closer to daily problems than do men since they are directly responsible for feeding and clothing the children. In addition to Family Allowance cheques addressed to women, the Federal Government provides necessary financial assistance to family heads of Indian status, and in a case where there is no formal marriage, a woman and her children are e l i g i b l e . The old system by which women exchanged a certain amount of independence in return for certain priviliges is breaking down as the government assumes the role of alternate economic provider. Paradoxically, although IAB has decreed patrilineal descent, i t has reinforced a matrilineal system which was dying out and lineages are again often being traced through the mother's line. Even when a permanent husband is attached to the household, the Whitehorse IAB office finds i t necessary to issue over f i f t y percent of the outgoing cheques directly to women, because the husband, who is often absent in the bush or in distant employment, is unable to pick up the cheques. There is also the belief expressed by one o f f i c i a l that a cheque given to a woman is more likely to go directly home. Thus a woman is accorded a measure of freedom not available to her traditionally. This situation was analysed by Asen Balikci in a community study of the Loucheux tribe of Vunta Kutchin 52. l i v i n g i n Old Crow, 80 miles above the A r c t i c C i r c l e . ( B a l i k c i , 1963: (a)) Here s o c i a l change was tempered by gradual contact w i t h i n d i v i d u a l m i s s i o -n a r i e s and t r a d e r s . T r a d i t i o n a l l y , r e c o g n i t i o n of m a t r i l i n e a l i t y was s u p e r f i c i a l . M i s s i o n a r i e s , concerned w i t h sex mores, were g e n e r a l l y success-f u l i n reducing polygyny and wif e exchange, and i n encouraging the conjugal f a m i l y as a s t a b l e u n i t : u n t i l twenty f i v e years before B a l i k c i ' s f i e l d w o r k no marriage separations were recorded. While t h e r e , he found twenty houses i n which l i v e d nuclear f a m i l i e s w i t h both husband and wif e present, eleven households c o n s i s t i n g of separated women and t h e i r c h i l d r e n , s i x houses occupied by s i n g l e men, and three by e l d e r l y females l i v i n g alone. There appeared to be l i t t l e pressure f o r females to remarry as there had been i n the past. Since there were more marriageable males than females, and polygyny had ceased to e x i s t , he r e l a t e d t h i s both to extended absence of males on the t r a p l i n e or i n wage employment and the attendent economic b e n e f i t s a v a i l a b l e to women. In a d d i t i o n to being r e c i p i e n t s of f a m i l y allowance and welfare b e n e f i t s , women could run t h e i r own t r a p l i n e , get as s i s t a n c e from adult sons, and exchange sexual favours f o r g i f t s because of the r e l a t i v e absence of agreed upon norms surrounding sex behavior. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that some separated women r e j e c t the idea of "welf a r e " and have made e f f o r t s to get employment. An ad m i n i s t r a t o r i n the Whitehorse IAB o f f i c e s t a t e s that only twelve to eighteen present of the f a m i l i e s on permanent w e l f a r e c o n s i s t of s i n g l e women w i t h c h i l d r e n and that women more f r e q u e n t l y request a s s i s t a n c e i n f i n d i n g employment than do men. A few women have managed to obta i n f u r t h e r e d u c a t i o n a l t r a i n i n g and thus get employment p r o v i d i n g a more reasonable standard of 53. living for themselves and their children. In a capital intensive area like the Yukon, i t is d i f f i c u l t for a man to get a job i f he is unskilled and is tagged as 'unreliable' - a fate few northern Indian men escape. But there are a number of unskilled, badly paid, or 'dirty' jobs (waitress, chambermaids, laundry workers, etc.) that can be f i l l e d by women. Unfortunately a stereotype encompassing variables ranging from unpredictability to promiscuity may precede these women in their efforts. One woman with an excellent work record applied for a job in Whitehorse. She states that when the man interviewing her discovered she was separated from her husband he enquired bluntly as to whether there was "a man around the house" to supplement her income, a question which would never have been posed to a white woman. Three cases were noted where a woman held a job in a local cafe or doing housecleaning while her husband stayed home preparing either to hunt or to look for work. Beyond economic factors, family background plays a part in marriage breakdown. One woman,, separated from her husband, attributed the situation in part to her childhood in a residential school where any family model was eliminated. "At the school, boys and gir l s were separated a l l the time. We couldn't even spend time with out brothers. It got so that many of us were so self conscious that we would c a l l a boy 'Mary's brother 1 rather than his own name. To move from this to marriage made i t hard to have any family l i f e . " A further factor stabilizing matrifocal family structure is compul-sory . enfranchisement (Section 108: Indian Act). Each year over 400 Indian women in Canada (4431 between 1957 and 1967 - according to IAB) marry non-Indians and are deleted from the Indian register, losing Indian status for 54. themselves and f o r any c h i l d r e n they had under 21 years of age as w e l l as f o r a l l f u t u r e c h i l d r e n by that marriage. In southern Canada they f o r f e i t any property r i g h t s they may have on the reserv e . In exchange they r e c e i v e a per c a p i t a share of t h e i r band funds and the contract i s e s s e n t i a l l y completed. By the same procedure, a non-Indian woman who marries an Indian becomes a r e g i s t e r e d Indian e n t i t l e d to the r i g h t s of Indian s t a t u s . The absence of band funds and the m a t r i l i n e a l b i a s makes t h i s double incongruous i n the Yukon. This has l e d to a large number of common-law r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n the T e r r i t o r y . In the south i t i s f u r t h e r complicated by unions of women from bands w i t h large funds to men from bands w i t h l e s s e r funds: i f she remains l e g a l l y s i n g l e , a woman ensures here c h i l d r e n the s e c u r i t y of her band membership. An a d d i t i o n a l complicating f a c t o r a r i s e s i n that an i n d i v i d u a l over twenty-one years who can prove her a b i l i t y to r e t a i n employ-ment, can apply f o r "enfranchisement" and r e c e i v e her share of the band funds, then remarry i n t o the band and be e l i g i b l e again. These f a c t o r s were discussed i n both the 1959 and 1960 J o i n t Parliamentary Committee on Indian A f f a i r s , and w i l l again come under s u r v e i l l a n c e i n current attempts to r e v i s e the Indian A c t , but to date no a c t i o n has been taken. The e n t i r e process d i r e c t l y contravenes the United Nations Draft D e c l a r a t i o n on the E l i m i n a t i o n of D i s c r i m i n a t i o n Against Women. A r t i c l e 5 s t a t e s : "Women s h a l l have the same r i g h t s as men to ac q u i r e , change or r e t a i n t h e i r n a t i o n a l i t y . Marriage to an a l i e n s h a l l not au t o m a t i c a l l y a f f e c t the n a t i o n a l i t y of the wife e i t h e r by rendering her s t a t e l e s s or by f o r c i n g on her the n a t i o n a l i t y of her husband" (U.N. Commission of the Status of Women 19th Session, Geneva, March 1966). 55. A number of northern women have gained considerable mobility and a chance to travel "outside" through temporary liaisons with white men. Not being legally bound, they can return to relative financial security for themselves and their children in the Yukon. Three women with whom I spoke gained considerable knowledge about Canada in this way: one had. lived for several months in Toronto, another had a photograph collection documen-ting a trip across Canada and a third had been to Vancouver several times. Since they had a l l just recently returned, i t was not possible to assess how easy they found i t to readapt to living in the village. Wife beating, which sometimes disrupts unions, manifests the frustration men feel when they experience rejection f i r s t from the white society and then from their women. A woman living in one village whose husband died several years ago explained that having once had a "good man", she would never marry again, because " a l l men beat their wives." She spends the winter in her village and in the summer takes her children into the bush to trap. In addition, her separated daughter and this daughter's child live with her. Despite the alleged frequency with which wifebeating occurs, there are few attempts by women to press charges. Social workers and nurses state that they have encouraged women to protest to police after such incidents, but with l i t t l e success. It would seem that there is hesitation to use "Whiteman's Law" to sanction a husband; this in turn could bring disapproval from one's own people. It is more likely that the woman w i l l leave home or eject the man, often only temporarily. The f u t i l i t y of laying charges was demonstrated when one woman did attempt to do this during the period of f i e l d study, after being beaten by her 56. legal husband, a Whiteman. Several calls she placed to the police to determine when the court hearing would be held proved useless. The man was given a ten dollar fine and a one year suspended sentence and she had no alternative but to return to him. Not being of Indian status, she and her children were not eligible for independent support i f she lef t him. 57. Maternal and Child Care: Infant mortality rates have been disproportionately high for the Indian population in the past, and the importance of establishing systematic pre-natal and post-natal care f a c i l i t i e s and convincing mothers of their usefulness has gained the attention of medical authorities; A maternal and child health survey, carried out by the Medical Services Division of the Department of National Health and Welfare in 1962 and 1963 (Graham-Cumming 1967) indicated that infant mortality rates (defined as death of a child during the f i r s t year) could be linked with the availability and use of medical services and the quality of home care. In seventy five percent of a l l live Registered Indian births in 1962 i t was possible to assess the quality of home care: for the rest, because of remoteness or migration, mother and child were not kept under observation, adequate medical attention was not received, and the infant mortality rate was 147 per 100 live births. Of the 5,552 Indian infants born that year, forty-two percent were assessed as receiving satisfactory home and medical attention, and in this group the mortality rate was 32 per 1000, a rate which compares closely with the 28 per 1000 for Canadians as a whole. Of the remaining fifty-eight per-cent who were evaluated as not receiving sufficient care, the mortality rate was much higher, at 116 per 1000. A ten year span shows the overall Indian infant death rate to have dropped from 98 per 1000 in 1956, to 48 per 1000 in 1965. In the Yukon, with the more recent spread of medical services, the infant mortality rate has decreased radically in the past 2 years. 58. TABLE NUMBER 1 YUKON INFANT MORTALITY RATES 1966 1967 Total Live Births 331 339 Total Infant Deaths 23 15 Registered Indian Births 56 103 Registered Indian Infant Deaths 11 7 Non-Indian Births (i n c l . non-status Indians) 275 296 Non-Indian Infant Deaths 12 8 Infant Mortality Rate: 1966 1967 Indian 178.5/1000 58.2/1000 Non-Indian 40.0/1000 20.2/1000 (Public Health Records: Whitehorse General Hospital) In context, this compares with mortality rates of 46.9/1000 for a l l Canadian Indians and 23.6/1000 for Canada as a whole in 1965, the most recent year for which figures are available.''" Pregnancy is regarded as a normal state in most cultures and traditionally each culture had i t s own guidelines for childbirth. Wes-tern culture places great priority on the future, and children, being equated with this time are accorded certain rights from the time pregnancy is recognized. In large part this value has been internalized by many Indian mothers who are aware that death of children is not normal. 1 Date from Department of National Health and Welfare. 5 9 . Pressures are now developing i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n . Some mothers i n Saskatchewan, Alb e r t a and B r i t i s h Columbia have demonstrated to medical a u t h o r i t i e s that they want better medical services and more information about the e x i s t i n g ones. Because of children, women are e s s e n t i a l l y more time-oriented than men who were t r a d i t i o n a l l y involved i n e x p l o i t a t i o n of the environment for food, and therefore with extensions i n space. Of some f i f t e e n women i n the Yukon with whom I discussed whether, given the oppor-tunity again they would rather be a man or a woman, a l l agreed that >they would choose to be a woman and linked t h i s with the bond with t h e i r c h i l d r e n . The so-called c h i l d neglect to which much infant sickness i s a t t r i b u -ted i s often less a case of w i l f u l neglect than a r e s u l t of physical circumstances or lack of information. People who love children i n the 'Indian way', i n a relaxed, permissive manner, often exhibit a casual a t t i t u d e to th e i r p h y s i c a l well-being. When a family with several children l i v e s i n a small poorly v e n t i l a t e d house i t i s impossible to keep a baby i s o l a t e d from other people. A constant stream of human t r a f f i c through the house lessens the mother's chances to watch the c h i l d c l o s e l y and i f he becomes i l l she may not notice immediately. Cases of outright neglect do occur, usually linked with drinking, but t h i s i n turn can be traced to reasons other than lack of concern for c h i l d r e n . Since these are the highly v i s i b l e cases, where nurses and s o c i a l workers have to be c a l l e d i n , there i s often a tendency to generalize about them. Because Indian women often have a large number of ch i l d r e n , this becomes important i n accounting for the d i s t r i b u t i o n of their energy. The e f f e c t i v e f e r t i l i t y r a t i o of a given population i s computed as the number 60. of children under the age of five years divided by the number of women in the childbearing age between 15 and 49, and is expressed per 1000 of population for standard comparison (Hughes, I960: 53). Although s t a t i s t i -cal samples are so small that projections would seem to be of limited value, the consistency of the ratios is significant in spatially separated bands. For the Ross River band the effective f e r t i l i t y ratio for 1966 is computed at 750 per 1000 women of child bearing age (21 children, 28 women) for the Carmacks band at 622 (29 children, 48 women) for the Carcross band at 736 (14 children, 19 women) and for the Whitehorse band at 648 (46 children and 71 women). For comparative purposes i t was possible to compute the ratio for countries in which recent census data was available in the 1966 Demo-graphic yearbook. The f e r t i l i t y ratios in the United Kingdom (381), Canada (472), and the United States (436) for the same year, and in France (382), and Switzerland (334) for the year 1965, contrast with 1966 ratios of Venezuela (847), Haiti (591), the Honduras (961) Mexico (837), and F i j i (751). It becomes evident that the f e r t i l i t y of northern Indian women,, closely approximates that of women in the so-called 'underdeveloped' countries. This also suggests that Indian women in this area expend a good deal more energy in the physical process of childbearing and child-raising than do many Canadian women and that they are l e f t with less energy to distribute in other a c t i v i t i e s . Consequently, any definition of their role is highly dependent on relationships with their children. Moore's discussion of demographic transition (Moore 1963: 40-41; 100) indicates that rates of infant mortality decline prior to rates of f e r t i l i t y and prior to changes in the economic structure. Interest in birth control was expressed by some women over 30 who f e l t that they had "too many children" but always with the comment that their husbands would be angry i f they found out. Birth control is a further threat to the male Indian's manhood. L i t t l e value is seen in the idea of pre-planning a family from the early stages. As with minority groups anywhere, efforts of the dominant society to implement birth control as a "solution" are logically interpreted by many Indian people as a plot to reduce their numbers. In some cases i t would appear that this is not far from the truth. A Vancouver gynecologist who examined twenty six case histories of Indian maternal deaths recently recommended ste r i l i z a t i o n of a l l Indian women with five children after their 35th birthday. Newspapers reported: "Dr. says every effort must be made to control the f e r t i l i t y of Indian women. Their birth ratio was 34.6 in 1000 compared to 17.3 for non-Indians in the province (B.C.) in 1966." (Ottawa Citizen, July 31, 1968) This is the sort of approach which creates great problems of communication between medical authorities and the Indian women with whom they have to work. It confirms the Indian's concept of the Whiteman as someone who is always talking about what is good for Indians without their knowledge or consent. Pre-natal clinics in the north s t i l l do not reach the economic stratum which would benefit from them most. Techniques used effectively with one group are less useful with others. Group counselling which generally remains at a conceptual level lacks relevance for Indian women whose circum-stances vary considerably. In addition, educational materials are scarce, and a budget of only $50.00 per year is allotted to the Territory for this 6 2 . purpose. (Personal communication: Administrator of Public Health; White-horse). Hospital services are centered i n Whitehorse, Dawson and Mayo but regular c l i n i c s are conducted i n the v i l l a g e s . The pub l i c health nurse often has a unique entrS into the v i l l a g e because she i s equipped with ce r t a i n recognizable s k i l l s . Public health must be treated as an i n t e g r a l part of the s o c i a l process and the nurse's effectiveness depends l a r g e l y on the extent to which she can adapt to s o c i a l customs. In one Yukon v i l l a g e , i t i s reported that the l o c a l medicine man i s a f i x t u r e at a l l c l i n i c s and he and the nurse mutually r e i n f o r c e one another's r o l e s : he reduces any anxiety women f e e l about her, and she strengthens hi s p o s i t i o n i n the community. C l i n i c s are reputedly becoming a fi r m l y established i n s t i t u t i o n i n the v i l l a g e s . One which I attended i n Ross River seemed to provide a measure of s o c i a b i l i t y for the women who brought, rather than sent, t h e i r children and stayed to ta l k with one another a f t e r t h e i r children had been examined. On the other hand, h o s p i t a l treatment i s often less neutral. This means leaving the security of the family for an undefined period of time i n exchange for an impersonal atmosphere where women are e s s e n t i a l l y cut off from f a m i l i a r faces. Nurses report that some women attempt to conceal pregnancy i n the hope of staying and having their baby delivered by a l o c a l midwife. One young woman i n a v i l l a g e I v i s i t e d who had been to ho s p i t a l for treatment previously t o l d me that she planned to leave the v i l l a g e on days when the nurse was v i s i t i n g during the few weeks p r i o r to the expected b i r t h of her c h i l d . Distant v i l l a g e s are connected to Whitehorse by plane s e r v i c e , and although f l i g h t s are scheduled for c e r t a i n days, actual departure i s highly dependent on weather conditions. This means 6 3 . that a woman from one of these villages may be brought to the city a week or two in advance of childbirth in order to ensure proximity to the hospital. Prolonged absence from home, and the resulting loneliness appears to create considerable stress for many women in the f i n a l stages of pregnancy. The Community Health Worker programme (initiated by National Health and Welfare) is unique in it s employment of native persons to serve in a liaison capacity between medical staff and the Indian people. Trainees are brought together from different parts of Canada and taught in group sessions to identify health and sanitation problems,to assist at clinics and to act as catalytic agents by transmitting the aims of the Department to the people in the community. In addition they are expected to provide information from the community to the Department. Theoretically they are equipped with technical knowledge which they combine with their own social a b i l i t y to oper-ate at the local level using native language. In practice, they may find themselves in the precarious position of having their expectations raised by the Department about their a b i l i t y to implement lasting changes, only to be met by conservative resistance and guarded suspicion among the local people. Currently there are forty three men and thirty five women working in this capacity in Canada: in the Yukon there are two women, one in Teslin, one in the Whitehorse-Carmacks area and a man at Old Crow. One doctor involved in this programme at the Ottawa level suggested that in a number of northern communities women are sometimes able to work more effectively than men. The former may v i s i t informally and act as more neutral animators, while man may have to prove their v i r i l i t y by hunting with the men, thereby reducing their time in the village. In general, success seems to depend less on sex than on individual personality and the local situation. There i s , 64. however, a striking discrepancy in wages for men and women: women receive between $30 to $50 a month less than men do, the total salary depending on the prevailing wage scale in the area. (Dept. of National Health and Welfare as of June 1968). In the Yukon, the starting salary is $320 per month for men and $275 for women. It is not possible to generalize about patterns of childrearing even within one family except to note that the proposition frequently made by non-Indians that Indian mothers do not care for their children is totally at variance with the overall data. Outwardly the strength of the bond between mother and child seems greatly to outweigh that between the spouses. Most women staying at the hostel in town as hospital outpatients for more than a few days express concern about their children who are lef t in the village, usually with the woman's sister or mother. Most pre-school children coming for medical treatment are accompanied by a mother. Although discipline is largely permissive, young children are kept in sight most of the time and occupy the focus of most conversation among the women. Indian mothers tend to enjoy rather than ri g i d l y discipline their children and permit them considerable latitude in behavior. Small children of pre-school age are handled a good deal and both mother and child appear to derive satisfaction from this. On one occasion',, a mother at the hostel cri t i c i z e d the fact that in the hospital "white nurses let babies cry" unheeded. Frequently mothers interrupted other activities to go to a crying child. Many Indian mothers create a milieu which gives the child inde-pendence training at an early age. A number of women when recalling their own childhood referred to tasks which they performed independently at the 65. age of 6 or 7. It was not unusual for children to be entrusted with considerable responsibility in food gathering and allowed to go off on their own or with a younger sibling. Based on past experience, many women, especially those over the age of 35, make the logical assumption that children of this age are capable of remaining alone until late at night or of going off on their own and children respond accordingly. The behavior which is criticized by non-Indians is not the result of attitudes of Indian mothers, but of habitual reactions reinforced by their attitudes. Indian children are often more independent in their actions than are their non-Indian peers. Thus they are faced with specific d i f f i c u l t i e s when they f i r s t encounter the structured control in a school situation, where a teacher is judged by her ab i l i t y to conduct an orderly classroom. 6 6 . Education; A major threat to the woman's role came with the building of residential schools in the early 1900's. "Prior to World War II, public schooling was denied the Indian children and the churches won by default the task of educating the Indians in the ways of the newcomers, a mission which they undertook zealously. Many Indian women throughout Canada retain deeply engrained memories of l i f e in these institutions where they were taught to reject a l l that was Indian, and a number of northern women related the concern which their mothers and grandmothers expressed when they returned after their f i r s t year of school. A woman now living in Whitehorse recalled: " I ' l l never forget my grandmother's face when she spoke to me and I didn't understand her and then wouldn't eat gopher. I wasn't allowed to go back to school for another two years." Most Yukon Indian women now over the age of thirty were removed from school after a few years and given an education by their parents to f i t them for the kind of l i f e the family was then l i v i n g . Two residential schools serve the Yukon, one at Lower Post, B.C. and the other, scheduled to close soon, at Carcross. These have gradually been replaced by elementary day schools in the major villages serving both Indian and non-Indian students. High school education is given in Whitehorse and accommodation provided at two residences. Although local schools have reinforced the physical bond between mother and child, they have done l i t t l e to decrease the psycholo-gical gap. Most mothers in the villages express ambivalence toward the idea of education. On one hand, they are aware of the demand for "White-man's education" as a prerequisite to getting a job, but in practical terms, they see few visible benefits in a system which makes the children d i f f i c u l t to manage and uninterested in learning the "Indian way". The role of teacher has been effectively taken from them and there is seldom any personal contact between Indian parents and white teachers even when the school is in the village. Mothers express suspicion that their children are not being educated in the true sense of the word and many recall the days "when our parents educated us for l i f e . " Integrated schools are geared to non-Indian values, yet give the Indian child only a rudimentary introduction to them. The non-Indian administrators arbitrarily determine what kind of education is best for the Indian child without consulting with or providing information to Indian parents. In terms of goals, both mothers and educators agree that the future of their children is important: because of lack of contact between the two, neither knows what the other is doing about i t . I n t e l l i -gence, interests and capabilities develop more or less as the social environment permits, and insofar as education is considered the total experience of a child, both in the classroom and outside i t , the process breaks down because of lack of continuity. In addition, the school curri-culum in the Yukon is derived directly from that of British Columbia and (as of June, 1968),there has been no integration of ideas with the Northwest Territories of Alaska; however, this is being considered for the future.''" An international northern education conference is tentatively planned for Montreal in 1969, to be held, under the auspices of the Arctic Institute of North America. 68. Several non-Indian teachers both at elementary and secondary school levels acknowledged that they had come to schools with very l i t t l e general knowledge about Canadian Indians and none at a l l about Indians living in the Yukon. In many cases, their expectations are so radically lowered in a classroom situation that they assume that Indian children are incapable of learning beyond a certain point and focus their attention on the non-Indian students. The children, caught between one set of values at home and another at school are seldom able to resolve the inconsistency and reject either their parents or the school, and often both. Typical of the comments expressed by different mothers were: "These kids start to think they're white but they're not and they never w i l l be. They're not Indian either anymore. They.don't f i t anywhere." (woman living in Whitehorse: went to a residential school) "It might be different i f they could get jobs but most of them won't stay in school that long." (woman living in village: some formal schooling) "Kids nowadays don't know what fun i s . We used to have so much fun learning things in the bush. We worked hard I guess but we enjoyed i t . But you can't explain that to these g i r l s . I've thought about i t a lot and i f I had to do i t a l l over again I'd do the same." (village: no formal schooling) "The worst thing is when they come back from the hostels. Don't know what they do to them there. But they come home here and l i e around a l l day. Can't even get them to do dishes." (village: some time at residential school) Mothers have less to teach their children today and i t would seem that lack of common experience hampers communication between mother and daughter. One g i r l in town, doing well at high school, noted this. Her parents separated after the last child left for school and she 69. attributes this to the fact that they had no reason to stay together after the children started to learn things the parents couldn't understand. She never sees her mother now and says that they would have nothing to talk about i f they did get together. The two residences where students completing upper elementary grades and attending one of the two high schools in Whitehorse may live provide an a r t i f i c i a l environment which depends largely on the individual capabilities and interests of adminstrators and supervisors. One is administered by the Roman Catholic church, the other by the Indian Affairs Branch. Although there are recognised differences in the management of the residences, these do not come within the scope of this paper. Any institution requires a certain number of regulations to function, and without parents to act as buffers, authority f a l l s as usual to Whites. At the time when the hostels were built in 1960, the 'factory' system was considered more efficient in administrative terms than the decentralized 'cottage' system. That i t has proved less efficient in human terms is recognised by a few of the staff members in each hostel, by a large number of girls who have left or been asked to leave, and by some who are s t i l l there. In most cases, hostels contribute to the student's problem of identity and narrow, rather than broa-den, the margin of choice. It is not possible for the few supervisors to give each g i r l the individual attention she needs, and many girls recog-nize that the only way to differentiate themselves from the others and thereby receive attention is to "get into trouble" of some kind. A probation officer confirmed that this attitude motivated many of the girls with whom she was working and that essentially i t was a r e a l i s t i c approach. 70. Most gi r l s who come and stay at the hostel do so with certain expectations that this w i l l prepare them for a kind of l i f e different from that in the village. Yet the only "home" environments they know are their own in the village and possibly those of a residential school or hostel. They never experience the home l i f e of non-Indians to which they are supposed to be aspiring. In one hostel there is a "No Visitors Upstairs" sign which virtua l l y excludes the possibility of girls having White friends v i s i t . A high school principal stated that he attempted to introduce a work program in the residential Riverdale (Whitehorse) area to give a practical aspect to home economics training by placing i t in the context of a house, but that the idea was rejected by the Department of Education. Tensions and Communications: As centres of administration and communication become established in / / Whitehorse, the urban influence permeates the village and has a magnetic effect on the residents. The set of forces which guides urbanization in the north gains i t s impetus from southern models, upon which there is dependence for certain goods and ideas, and a derivative southern social environment is a r t i f i c i a l l y imposed in a northern physical environment. As the surrounding settlements become intimately linked with the Whitehorse hub for goods, services and information, the dichotomy between rural and urban milieus breaks down. Buses, cars or planes connect the villages with the city; radios are visible in many of the homes; government agencies, hospital services and hostels are centred in Whitehorse. With the exception of Pelly Crossing and Old Crow a l l major villages are composed of both Indians and Whites who, though they live in segregated spheres physi-cally, socially and emotionally cannot but influence one another. The worldwide process of "urbanization of the village" and "peasantization of the city" which Halpern discusses in China, India, Yugoslavia, Mexico, Russia and the United States (Halpern 1967) is not bypassing Canada or its north. Although the village remains the primary point of reference for many women who dislike the city, i t does not negate the effect i t has on them, on their families and on their settlement. This section w i l l examine certain major tensions to which women are exposed in urban village l i f e and w i l l then look at the communication f a c i l i t i e s which become available in the process. The relationship of these topics becomes apparent in that the extent to which women anywhere can resolve feelings of stress often depends largely on the possibilities 72. they have of communicating these feelings to a receptive listener. Tensions: As changes multiply, the ab i l i t y to predict behavior to the extent necessary for the smooth functioning of a social system becomes less certain. Society is never frictionless; but stresses arise in greater or lesser degree depending on the external forces impinging on individuals. Indian women's roles seem formerly to have derived from clearly recognizable relationships with others: roles of child and daughter, young woman, wife, mother and older woman a l l depended on expectations of other family members as well as on pre-existing tradition. Potential conflict was inevitable when, for example, a woman had rights and obligations of a wife requiring a certain submissiveness, as well as of a mother or disciplinarian. As a socialized being she understood the limitations which defined her sphere of behavior and was capable of switching from one role to another. Now the same conflict becomes more serious as husband and children spend less time in the home. The woman is merely aware that different, and often conflicting expectations of her rights and obligations may be held by her husband, her children, other Indian men or women, the Indian superintendent, the public health nurse, the social worker, the teacher, the R.C.M.P. officer, the white women and men with whom she comes into contact. Structurally the family circle may seem to be narrowing, but in reality i t is widening as a host of new agents place independent demands on the members. As the conjugal family is deprived of some of it s functional importance, i t tends to lose its structure as a readily definable unit. A woman experiences diffuse pressures to assume greater responsi-73. b i l i t y and is expected to differentiate between courses of action, often without adequate information as to what the choices are or what they involve. Alteration of roles to be effective requires an understanding of the rights and obligations of the role to which one is moving and a corres-ponding change in behavior. It equally requires that the individuals with whom one is in contact alter their behavior accordingly. Comparison is the tool of discovery in any situation. For northern women who lack the broad comparative base which many women in the south have been able to develop, no model and no consensus exists. Without this information a woman is left to independent and spontaneous reinterpretation of her own role. This in turn creates stresses, and identification of these indicates possible areas where further change may occur. Adaptation of Older Women: Considerable conservatism is found in attitudes of women over 40 who are living in the villages. Having experienced in their lifetime the transition from a nomadic l i f e where they saw themselves as part of an animistic, personal environment, to a sedentary existence and a secular environment, they express considerable uncertainty as to just what l i f e style is desirable and many indicate a preference to return to bush l i f e . Although the decline in hunting and trapping can essentially be traced to economic factors, i t is the social aspects involved in the traditional l i f e which the women talk about. Their social environment extends beyond distinctively human relationships to encompass the total surroundings and l i f e is guided largely by the rhythm of the seasons. The research period from mid-April to mid-June coincided with an especially d i f f i c u l t 74. time of year because spring is the period associated with considerable mobility in trapping and fishing. Some of these women are physically incapacitated because of age, others are bound to the village by schools. Days are routinized and the recognition that bush l i f e is in no sense possible, except perhaps for two months in the summer when the children are out of school, and that younger girls and women reject the kind of l i f e that they found meaningful no doubt increases their own desire to pursue i t . In Old Crow, the muskrat season is accommodated by having school holidays in May and June, but in villages with Indians and non-Indians, this is not considered practicable. Their conservatism becomes evident in the way they structure time and space. They frequently organize time around specific points of reference in the past with "before" indicating the time of the idealized "good l i f e " , "before the highway", "before the liquor", and "before the welfare" when the Indians were not dependent on the Whiteman's government to meet basic material needs. They define themselves as "the Indians" and frequently reject the younger generation blaming the-infiltration of "White blood" for the changes which have taken place, stating that "there are no more Indians," or "the young people don't know the Indian way," or "kids now are no good". The inevitable generation gap has taken on the proportions of a culture gap which is reinforced in many cases by mutual patterns of rejection. The majority of these women have spent their entire lives in the Yukon and have l i t t l e knowledge of the world beyond i t . The outside world converges on them but they are aware that they have l i t t l e influence on i t . The term "outside" to refer to everywhere that is not the Yukon 75. has been learned from non-Indians in many cases but i t is used in a different way. To most non-Indians, the "outside" is the world which they have temporarily left and to which they w i l l return. To the Indian women, the Yukon is home, "the Indian country", and an "outside Indian" is not considered a real Indian. There is l i t t l e recognition of a national Indian identity and the main interest e l i c i t e d by a map of Indian reserves in Canada was in the location of Edmonton, where the major hospital serving the North is located, and of Vancouver, a place where many young people consider going. Whitehorse is. the standard by which they judge a city and their concept of manageable space is usually limited to their village and the area they covered with their families when young. They are forced into a situation of peripheral adaptation to a rapidly urbanizing society which has no precedent for them and to which they cannot relate in a meaningful way. There is a tendency for many non-Indians to eulogize wistfully about the virtues of the "old people", whom i t would seem are valued more as simple but astute curiosities than for their existence as human beings who might be capable of making contributions. The criticism expressed by some non-Indians that young people are no longer interested in learning about their tradition from the older people is well founded in many cases, but i t must also be remembered that traditional ways are consistently downgraded by non-Indian administrators in the cautious search for "rational" approaches to change. On the other hand, one young woman who had returned to the Yukon after spending several months studying with other Indian students in Vancouver said that she hoped to spend her summer in 76. her village learning and recording some of the legends known to her parents and her grandparents.. The older people are the bearers of tradition and i t is often the women who have the opportunity to keep the oral history alive by recounting i t over beadwork. Several men were c r i t i c a l of non-Indians who want to record legends and take them away from the territory, ostensibly for personal benefit, but a number of women stated that these legends ought to be recordedTif they could be integrated into the school curriculum and taught to the children. Such a reinjection of the history and folklore' would benefit not only Indian children but also non-Indian children and teachers. Far from being outmoded, the values of the Indian culture may become increa-singly important in the future with the need for co-operation toward common goals. The problem is one of locating socially acceptable tension outlets which w i l l allow the women to use their creative a b i l i t i e s and which w i l l benefit both Indians and non-Indians. Social Control of Younger Women; For many women, tension is generated by awareness of their power-lessness as disciplinarians in controlling the behavior of their daughters. This was formerly a family matter necessary for the survival of the hunting group, and mothers frequently mentioned the authority their own mothers exercised when they were young. As Day (1968) noted in analysis of Eskimo acculturation, sex was traditionally regarded as a rather friendly matter among northern Indians and Eskimos without the grim moral overtones apparent in the English language and culture; however i t took place in a personal environment-and was a means of cementing kinship. As people from different backgrounds converge, mechanisms for social control break down. Dependence on resources outside the community has presented new elements which capture the imagination of the younger women. Cowboy ballads are heard on the radio, from juke boxes and on record players which some families now own. Movie magazines and "True Romance" stories are visible in homes and are read by many of the young women. They provide the concepts of city l i f e and excitement, especially for those girls who are unable to find anything meaningful in the school system and have rejected that as an alternative. The influx of transient men from "outside" presents a new possibility. Girls are aware of social and economic benefits which derive from association with Whitemen, and some girls apparently view these men as an attractive substitute for the idea of staying in the village and following certain traditional tasks as their mothers s t i l l do. Unfortunately the process of mutual sexual exploitation which occurs seldom results in the romantic l i f e style which they may i n i t i a l l y envisage. Once Whitemen become involved, sex takes on moral and medical implications. The ratio of men to single women in mining camp areas gives the girls ample opportunity to meet the men socially. For a number of mines, the village is the closest place of interest where one can find liquor, women and a "good time." It is regrettable that the cultures collided when the under-standing of sex mores was so different. As Mannoni states in discussing colonization policy in Africa: L'Civilization is necessarily an abstraction. Contact is made not between abstractions but between real live human beings, and the closest contact often occurs at the least desirable levels" (Mannoni 1964: 23). 78. Indications are, from discussions with some of the younger women that in areas where there has previously been l i t t l e contact with Whitemen, the overtures of these men are i n i t i a l l y interpreted as typical of the value system of the south. On the other hand, most men involved view Indian g i r l s simply as a readily available sexual resource. The set of incongruent stereotypes does l i t t l e to f a c i l i t a t e understanding between the two cultures and the impression that Indian women are "promiscuous" is carried back to non-Indians. The stereotype of Whiteman which some mothers expressed is equally pervasive. The attempts of transient men to take advantage of permissive attitudes toward sex in relationships with their daughters seldom receives their wholehearted support. Traditionally sex stabilzed relation-ships:now i t becomes disruptive. One mother noted: "They c a l l the Indians a bunch of drunks, but you notice when Whitemen want to make a good party they head straight for the Indian village. The girls are looking for something . . . fun,excitement . . . and they think they get i t this way. I'd like to send them a l l back where they come ('from." This is often the most visible result of "northern development" for Indian women. A steady relationship, or a series of f a i r l y stable relationships, are acceptable and expected and a number of these do seem to have a degree of permanance totally independent of a formal "marriage". However, a woman who carries on a series of simultaneous relationships often experiences censure from other women in her community partly because her v i s i b i l t y perpetuates the stereotype which they have come to recognize. There would seem to be an attempt to compensate for ineffectiveness of social control within many families by directing criticism toward other women in the 79. village. This not only temporarily allays their own tensions but creates new ones and enters into some of the younger women's decisions to seek greater i n v i s i b i l i t y in Whitehorse. A 17 year old g i r l remarked typically, "If you even walk around with a fellow here the whole village starts talking. At least in Whitehorse you can go out without everyone knowing who you were with and guessing at where you went." "Whitewoman" is a somewhat more neutral term in the north because the majority of informal interaction has been with Whitemen, but this in no way suggests that i t is held in very high esteem. Each language has a word for "woman" and a separate word for "Whitewoman", the latter being a derogatory category when used in a general sense. A series of "Whitewoman" jokes serves to discharge h o s t i l i t y and release tension. The term effec-tively conveys information and can be used as a mechanism of social control. Two examples serve to illustrate this, the f i r s t related by a non-Indian woman who was present when i t occurred. An Indian woman who had been in Whitehorse for medical treatment was told that she would be allowed,, to return to the village on a certain day. On the specified day, the doctor requested that she remain a few more days. The woman became very upset and began to cry, while a non-Indian woman tried to console her with no positive results. Suddenly an Indian woman who had been watching exclaimed: "You stop that. You're acting like a Whitewoman". Immediately the tears ceased and the woman resumed her former activity. In one village a mother explained how this was used to control her daughter who had returned from the hostel and refused to eat the food prepared for her: "We c a l l her 'Whitewoman' in our language and laugh;at her. 'Give her cake' we say. She sure change her mind in a hurry." 80. Attitudes Toward Drinking: Closely linked with the problems of sedentary l i f e and tension manage-ment is drinking behavior. This complex subject has been dealt with extensively by other researchers and w i l l be considered only as an adjunct here. (See Honigmann, Dailey, and Clairmont). Alcohol consumption was consistently mentioned by the women and treated as a problem, rather than as a symptom of other problems, although It was generally linked in conversation with d i f f i c u l t i e s such as wife-beating and child neglect. The significant factor is that when the subject came up i t was introduced by the women themselves. The majority were highly c r i t i c a l of drinking, especially when they spoke of occasions when they themselves "drank too much." Even though this might have l i t t l e effect on their overall behavior, indications are that drinking occurs in "binges" depending on the availability of money and the overall level of tension rather than in regular periods of sustained consumption. Undoubtedly the fact that I was white influenced their handling of the topic. Some seem to have internalized the stereotype that Indians drink more than non-Indians, and others, to think that any non-Indian person holds this view and that they must explain. In view of the high rate of liquor consumption among the non-Indian segment of the population in the north, for which no accurate statistics are available, this is largely an a r t i f i c i a l distinction. Several native girls who were students in town asked me i f I knew why Indians drank so much. One woman introduced the topic of her sister with the statement "she doesn't drink 1 1, admitting the existence of the stereotype by denying i t in a specific instance. Another woman, discussing her drinking explained: 81. "I've got to stop I know but there's nothing else to do. I stop for a while but I get lonely so I go v i s i t and someone says 'have some of this' and i t starts again. My sister doesn't drink and she's always preaching at me to quit but that makes i t worse. I just like to talk with people and I get lonely." Boredom, loneliness, frustration and a desire to have contact with familiar faces may lead to the beer parlour which is sometimes the only visible link between the village and the town. It would seem to be not so much the fact of drinking as beliefs about the way liquor is handled, based on visible Indians, which creates the stereotype. On the other hand, the phrase " i f the Whiteman gets drunk he's a swinger; i f an Indian does he's a drunken Indian" equally applies. One young Whiteman employed in a professional capacity, discussing this, related how he and two colleagues had played football in the main street of a northern town at three A.M. after a party. The football eventually hit the windshield of an R..C.M.P. car, yet elicit e d only a genial wave of the finger from the officer. A much lesser degree of intoxication usually ends in arrest for an Indian person. Hard and heavy drinking has always been an acceptable part of the "true northerner" stereotype. When Indians drink, they usually end up in j a i l . One native woman in her early twenties who doesn't drink explained the problems of trying to find friends who shared other interests. Her boy friend (Indian) has a number of non-Indian friends who extend invita-tions to spend the evening with them but always at a drinking establishment. The couple has neither the money for, nor the interest in, drinking and consequently they seldom mix socially either with Indians and non-Indians. 82. The Whitehorse Correctional Institute which has been operating since June 6, 1967 provides one way of gauging recent female offenses though i t f a i l s to account for persons fined without incarceration.''" A break-down of female inmates for the ten month period between i t s opening and March 31, 1968 shows the part ethnicity and liquor plays: INDIAN STATUS METIS WHITE 66 89% 5 11% 3 The longest sentence was for 6 months; this for a white woman. No Indian woman was held for longer than 3 months. The percentage of liquor related offenses were 89%. Crucial here is the fact that forty nine of the sixty six women of Indian status were sentenced under the Indian Act (sect. 94b) with being intoxicated off a reserve when there are no reserves in the Yukon. In the Northwest Territories this has been amended so that Indian status persons, like everyone else, are charged under the Liquor Ordinance Law. Common to a l l these problems of tension and handling of tension is the need to be able to communicate effectively with others. Communication: Problems Caused by  Change of Location: Weiner argues that: "Society can only be understood through a study of the messages and the communication f a c i l i t i e s which belong to it"(Weiner 1950: 25). No records were readily available on this either in Whitehorse or in Ottawa. 83. The majority of Indian people commute, rather than permanently migrate to the city. As they do so, certain channels of communication assert themselves. Men often have a greater degree of mobility than do women and dr i f t in and out of town more randomly. Women with child-raising responsibilities usually come to town for specific reasons such as social welfare services or medical treatment. Depending on the reason for their v i s i t and the availability of transportation, they may spend several days in town either with relatives or at the hostel for women, and this gives them considerable free time around the specific appointment. Most women staying at the hostel expressed considerable uncertainty abouttthe city. In these surroundings, where predictability is least possible, stresses are most likely to arise. Given this lack of certainty, there is need to test one's position by comparing i t with others. In an effort to f i l l in time and gain some stable point of reference they talk with one another, walk downtown and v i s i t other women who have moved from their village to the Whitehorse area. Although physical mobility i n i t i a l l y breaks down kinship ties, i t can later reinforce them as more people gain access to transportation. A woman carries messages from the village to town and in return receives news about the city which can be relayed back to the village. For those women who stay at the hostel, limited comparison with women from other villages also becomes possible. The loose oral communication system is reinforced by the technically superior media of the city which break down village isolation. Yet the media can also become personalized: many women staying at the hostel consider a radio request show, hosted by an Indian man on Saturday afternoon, a convenient way to transmit a message from the city back to the village 84. during t h e i r absence. In addition to c o n t r o l l i n g c e r t a i n information gained through these channels, women receive the majority of messages from non-Indian "change agents". So c i a l workers, nurses, ministers and p r i e s t s have stated that women are usually the persons with whom they deal. For th i s reason the messages women transmit can be seen as v i t a l i n the process of s o c i a l change. Coming to the c i t y involves learning to communicate with non-Indians and inrmany cases t h i s means dealing with s p e c i a l i z e d functionaries rather than with i n d i v i d u a l s and doing so i n the l a t t e r s 1 environment rather than i n v i l l a g e . The need to convey messages accurately becomes increasingly d i f f i c u l t when persons are dealing with one another i n a lim i t e d and formal s i t u a t i o n . Persons acting i n a s p e c i a l i z e d p o s i t i o n are often concerned p r i m a r i l y with the technical aspects of the message which they are trans-mitting and with p r e s c r i p t i v e rather than more broadly d e s c r i p t i v e information. Cliches and standard answers provide very l i t t l e information, yet are frequently used i n encounters between Indians and non-Indians. Transfer of information i s always subject to i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and a possible change i n meaning, and t h i s increases across c u l t u r a l b a r r i e r s . Non-Indians are a highly verbal cu l t u r e : Indian women who are se n s i t i v e to other cues may. place greater weight on the non-verbal content. Information r e f e r s to the content of what i s a c t u a l l y exchanged and c i r c u l a t e d i n the environment regardless of any intended or interpreted meaning. The way something i s said or the presence of an o f f i c e counter separating Indian and non-Indian may have greater e f f e c t than what i s a c t u a l l y stated. Yet 85. non-Indians are less likely to recognize similar kinds of information from the women. Discussions with several non-Indians indicate that when they speak of d i f f i c u l t i e s in communicating with Indian persons they con-sider this primarily in terms of linguistic barriers, and in terms of conveying, rather than receiving messages. The tendency of Whites to talk down to them was mentioned repeatedly by Indian women. Several women described, and on other occasions I saw how they consciously lapse into the role of the "dumb Indian woman" in order to avoid becoming outwardly hostile in a situation which could otherwise involve conflict. Generally such information totally eludes non-Indians who are accustomed to reacting only to verbal h o s t i l i t y , and they interpret silence to mean that the woman agrees with them or does not understand. Interpretations of the status of Indian women become important insofar as they predispose the way non-Indians react to them. Communication with non-Indians often generates further stresses rather than providing tension release. An Indian woman from a southern city elaborated thus: "I know that I've got two strikes against me because I'm both an Indian and a woman but I've learned that I can use this and I know many women do. Most non-Indians think that i f you're an Indian you lack i n t e l l i -gence and i f you're a woman this is doubly true. It's often easiest to work around people by living up to their expectations." Terms of address convey considerable information. Bohannan's explanation of how behavioral patterns affix themselves to certain kinship terms also holds true beyond the immediate kin group (1963: 54-71). The Indian culture is a highly personalized one and f i r s t names are generally used in addressing one another. Many non-Indians dealing with Indian 8 6 . persons i n a formal capacity attempt to achieve rapport by addressing a l l Indians by the i r f i r s t name regardless of age, sex or how well they know them. An Indian woman from an Ontario c i t y remarked: "Perhaps I'm oversensitive because I'm an Indian woman but I very much resent being c a l l e d by my f i r s t name by people I hardly know, yet i t happens a l l the time. My name i s Mrs. P and i f a white woman would be addressed this way, I don't see why I shouldn't be. I have the idea that white people think they're using psychology when they do th i s but I always suspect that they're trying to put something over on me." In the north, I seldom heard an Indian woman c a l l e d "Mrs." by a non-Indian, yet on a number of occasions Indian women and twice an Indian man refe r r e d to a close f r i e n d of the i r s as "Mrs." when mentioning her to me, a white person. One woman, t a l k i n g of a non-Indian family f r i e n d , mentioned with obvious pride that although he had known her for years, he s t i l l c a l l e d her "Mrs. S ". When I asked her about t h i s , she added "When I want someone to c a l l me by my f i r s t name, I ask them to." C e r t a i n l y there are many cases where a formal marriage has not taken place. But where i t has, women appreciate recognition of the fact i n dealings with non-Indians who attach considerable s i g n i f i c a n c e to the l e g a l d i s t i n c t i o n . Older women, e s p e c i a l l y , sometimes stated that t h i s was part of the process of being "talked down to". The h o s p i t a l attempts to reduce impersonality to a minimum but does have a rule that female patients be addressed as "Mrs." i f they are married. Informally, a number of nurses admit that t h i s r u l e i s often waived for mental patients, old people and Indians. Kinds of Intermediaries: Once patterns of communication become standardized i t i s d i f f i c u l t 87. to change them. Intermediaries may either support established attitudes or present new ideas. "A piece of information in order to contribute to the general information of the community must say something substantially different from the community's previous stock of information" (Weiner 1950: 163). Old Crow is best known to many people through the intermediary, Edith Josie, whose reports appear in the Whitehorse Star. The folksy image which she presents has gained such popularity that her columns are published yearly, unedited and in book form, and an international magazine once devoted an article to her. This communication system was set up when the Star decided to hire a correspondent from Old Crow and the (then) Anglican minister's wife chose Edith because she was unmarried and had no husband to support her. Essentially a creation of the non-Indian, this woman's function as an intermediary has given her considerable power in that her reports, though impressionistic, largely control the idea the "outside" world has of the settlement. Although her portrayal of cheerfulness differs considerably from Balikci's (1963b) and the suicide of an Old Crow man during the period of f i e l d study would not suggest contentment, the messages she transmits e l i c i t obvious approval from her readers in the south. Her future is .secure as long as she continues to control this segment of the newsmedia. A compilation of her articles from 1962-1965 (Josie 1966) shows l i t t l e change in the point of view and content of her information. She is a "safe" intermediary from the point of view of non-Indians because she t e l l s them what they want to hear. Old Crow people are fondly referred to in the south as the "real Indians" but often their image confirms the 88. stereotype that Indians are a happy people in their natural state, and is faintly reminiscent of the nineteenth centre "noble savage" approach. In the absence of readily available channels by which ideas can be transmitted from Indian to non-Indian people, some women are beginning to look for ways to establish them. Two native women took executive positions in federal parties during the June 1968 election campaign in the Yukon, one as secretary of one party, the other as vice-president of another. One g i r l attending high school in Whitehorse said that she believed that the only way to resolve feelings of tension between Indian and non-Indian students was to have open discussions in the classroom about why barriers existed. She and a non-Indian g i r l planned to approach one of their teachers jointly about this possibility. In general, Indian women seem more willing to establish a relationship with a non-Indian person in which they are treated as equals and to which they can freely contribute ideas. Women appear to be more willing to discuss personal problems involving themselves or their children than are men who often confine talk to their hunting and release tension in outward h o s t i l i t y . Any definition of the problem has to come from both Indians and non-Indians i f concerted action is to take place. At the present time decisions are constantly being made which affect the Indian people directly without establishing ways to find out what their reactions are. The system has no feedback, and the Indian people in the Yukon and elsewhere resent this. Modernization implies that people have a voice in decisions that affect them* 89. Housing: In material terms, housing is a major concern of Indian women. As long as Indian families were mobile, they could construct a camp and move when necessary. Once they were localized in the villages, the need for more permanent housing became apparent. Non-Indians frequently use housing as a yardstick by which to gauge both Indians and the Indian Affairs Branch, and the Branch has been pressured to take the responsibility of placing Indians in "more suitable" structures. Since housing is an easily quantifiable criterion, amounts spent can be annually tabulated in Ottawa in a s t a t i s t i c a l demonstration of 'Branch progress'. The tendency to treat housing as a panacea for a l l problems has proved meaningless in many cases. The simple determinism which assumes that giving a person a house improves his overall level of welfare, and that everyone entertains the same ideas about the kind of house he should occupy is unrealistic and fa i l s to account for individual preferences. Housing merely roots many Indians in locations which they prefer to leave. In the Yukon,where no revolving loan fund was established, the idea that a house is just another 'handout' stimulates l i t t l e pride in ownership and provides no incentive to keep i t repaired. The real issue is not to determine what size, shape or colour houses should be, but to provide the people with some opportunity to parti-cipate in the decision making. Although women traditionally built the houses in the Eastern Subarctic, on the Plains and in northwestern Canada, and therefore had a very large say in the housetype, l i t t l e consideration has been given to this role in the north. A letter from a native woman 9.0. living in the Northwest Territories noted: "Women have never been consulted about housing projects whatsoever. This is most unfortunate but I suppose this w i l l come eventually." (Jan. 17th, 1968, Fort Smith, N.W.T.) One woman living in Ross River mentioned that she had been told she might get a new house. When? She did not know. Where would i t be? They had not told her. What would happen to her present house? She hoped that she could use i t as a cache but she doubted i t . In Pelly Crossing one woman moved herself and her family from a tent to a house which IAB had b u i l t . Once there, she stated that her children became sick with colds, so she moved the entire family back into the tent during the winter. The tent, though small, is comfortable and can be easily heated. In Dawson, houses built by IAB were later condemned by the Department of National Health and Welfare because they lacked sanitary f a c i l i t i e s . A flash flood two years ago at spring break-up f i l l e d the houses with several feet of water and in the absence of repairs, the floors are in some cases separated from the walls by more than eight inches. As in many Yukon houses, walls are lined with cardboard for added insulation, windows are small and interiors are dark. Women everywhere have preferences as to the kinds of home they consider suitable, and individual likes and dislikes have to be taken into consideration i f programs of housing are to achieve a measure of success. Frequent complaints from the women centred on the location of the villages. Women in the Whitehorse village complain that they are living in a swamp; in Ross River the women complain that they are in a dust p i l e . It is stated by o f f i c i a l s that the Indians chose the sites in the f i r s t place; however, when this was done, they were s t i l l in the habit of migrating and i t is doubtful whether they realized the far-reaching implications of their choice. If villages are in economically productive locations, more than housing is needed to make them enjoyable places in which to live; i f not, consideration should be given to relocating these persons who wish to move rather than building more houses for them. The major dilemma - where to build houses for people invQhfed in a changing world in a changing area - is one that is common to the whole world. But experience in northern Canada has shown that poor housing is more expensive than good housing, even i f such housing is only temporary or is built on the disposable principle. Any savings on housing are wiped out by increased health costs. Criticism of Indian women's standards of housekeeping is often made by people who admit that they have never actually visited an Indian home-Many Indian mothers may have l i t t l e interest in jeopardizing easy going relationships with their children, by emulating White standards of house-keeping which in turn could bring censure from other women in the village. Closely linked with the d i f f i c u l t i e s of housekeeping is the availability of water and the energy involved in transporting i t . In most villages, water must be carried in pails from a river and in the winter this also means chopping a hole in the ice or melting quantities of snow. In the Whitehorse village where a central storage tank has been installed because of distance from the river, the necessity of "packing" water has become a source of discontent. The city supplies water to the Takhini settlement beyond the village and a standing argument exists between the Indian Affairs Branch and the city as to whose responsibility i t w i l l be to finance water instal-lation for the village i f and when this should be deemed feasible. The more practical question could be whether the village is going to remain there, or be removed. Again the situation arises of government functionaries arguing about problems which concern people without their participation. The rationale given by one o f f i c i a l was that "the Indians would let the pipes freeze anyway." In a climate with dramatic fluctuations in tempera-ture, one would question the premeditation involved in letting pipes freeze in the winter. It could rather reflect on the quality of insulati in the houses and the need to complement the provision of f a c i l i t i e s with suitable education programs. 93. Employment Opportunities: Unmarried girls who have lef t school often find that there is l i t t l e to occupy them in the village either in the general sense of work they are capable of doing or in the specific sense of work they can be paid to do. They see the possibility of expanding their boundaries by leaving the village and i t becomes evident that in addition to the search for excitement, beliefs about "good jobs" elsewhere often enter into their decision. Any examination of changes in the woman's role must consider the opportunity structures which become available in the wage-based' economy, and how closely these match the expectations women hold about what par t i c i -pation in this economy can mean. Migration from the village to the city on a permanent or semi-permanent basis requires the transition from the village where relations are highly personalized to an environment where one f a l l s into the category of "an Indian" regardless of personal capabilities. Girls consistently remarked that one thing they disliked most in Whitehorse was "being stared at." In the city there are few traditional confinements but on the other hand there:.is l i t t l e structure or guidance. Efforts to achieve greater opportunity or greater i n v i s i b i l i t y are frustrated i f a woman is not equipped with the s k i l l s defined as necessary by the larger non-Indian population. Consequently, although a woman's status may increase in her own terms because of greater personal freedom, this particular style of of emancipation may result in her overall social status being ascribed at a lower level than i t was in the village by the majority of the population. 94. Porter (1965) noted that a l l ethnic groups in Canada with the exception of Native Indian and Eskimo were more than half "urban" by 1961. His rough hierarchy of ethnic groups represented in Canada, lumps Indians and Eskimos together at the bottom, 60.3% being employed in unskilled jobs. An examination of the latest census data (Dominion Bureau of Statistics, 1961) indicates that of the 6,146 Canada Indian women in the female labour force that year, 3,469 were in the D.B.S. gross category 'service and recreation' and 2,928 of these were in the subcategory 'waitresses, cooks and related workers.' To give a more precise idea of how these particular occupations are generally evaluated in terms of social prestige, i t is helpful to use Pineo and Porter's 'Occupational and Prestige Scores' in terms of socio-economic categories as they are rated by a representative sample of Canadians (Pineo-Porter 1967: p. 35). TABLE NUMBER II OCCUPATIONAL PRESTIGE SCORES BY SOCIO-ECONOMIC CATEGORIES No. of Mean Standard Occupational Titl e Titles Score Deviation Professional 21 72.04 8.16 Proprietors Managers & Officials 15 70.42 12.99 (large) Semi-Professional 29 57.73 8.29 Proprietors Managers & Officials 23 48.79 8.91 (small) Clerical and Sales 23 38.57 8.90 Skilled 27 38.76 6.98 Semi-Skilled 34 . 32.91 . 7.71 Unskilled 18 23.46 6.23 Farmer 6 34.98 10.01 95. Specific ratings accorded the previously mentioned occupations are: Housekeeper 28.8 Cook 29.7 Waitress 19.9 It is hardly accurate to apply the yardstick of one culture to another but where these persons are participating directly in the social milieu of the urban society, such an index does have valid repercussions on their overall level of social mobility. It would appear that a great number of Indian women are being recruited into occupations which w i l l essentially lock them into the "lower class". In the Yukon, in 1961, 62 of the 78 Indian status females classified as being in the labour force were in 'service and recreation 1 occupations, the others being: 1 profes-sional, 5 hunters, fishers, or trappers, 2 craftsmen and 8 whose occupa-tions are unspecified (Canada: The Yukon Today 1968: 8). In terms of available jobs, opportunities for unskilled employment in the north .'^ are greater for Indian women than for Indian men because of possibilities of cleaning and restaurant work. Frequently employers hold the expectation that Indian women are poor employment risks and are hesitant to hire them. A woman who does stay at a job becomes absorbed and invisible, while one finds l i t t l e satisfaction in her work with a l l the attendent requirements of clock-punching and leaves, reinforces the stereotype and makes i t doubly d i f f i c u l t for the next native g i r l who applies. A number of the women in the Whitehorse Indian village have job histories of sporadic employment, but unless they can arrange transportation, the alternative to a two mile walk, especially d i f f i c u l t in the winter, is a taxi which substantially depletes their salaries. Indications are that i f a white g i r l takes a job and leaves she is considered an unfortunate exception; 96. i f an Indian g i r l does this, she is judged primarily as a representative of an ethnic group. This contradiction is further demonstrated in the mobility of the white population with whom Indians most frequently deal: the government o f f i c i a l s , teachers, social workers and nurses quite regularly leave after a year or two and for them such behavior has come to be expected and by virtue of i t s consistency, acceptable. The majority of non-Indians in the North see jobs in monetary terms and w i l l withstand short-term job discomfort and bureaucratic pressures in return for long-term benefits (these being "outside" where they w i l l return in the foreseeable future). Having internalised the value of "deferred gratification" many of them have l i t t l e patience with Indian people who look for immediate answers, and do not distinguish sharply between work and leisure. One of the reasons Indian g i r l s leave the village in the f i r s t place is because they are looking for some kind of meaningful activity. As one young g i r l who had returned after studying in Vancouver explained, "The girls up here have no goals, nothing to really plan for. I used to run around a lot and jump from job to job up here too. When you're not getting anything out of i t except a bit of money, you give up." For a number of women who have families, the only r e a l i s t i c form of employment is home industry. Those who do not s e l l their craftwork independently may bring i t to the Indian Affairs Branch operated Handi-craft store in town where i t is then resold to the public. When this was originally set up i t was intended to become a self-supporting co-operative similar to a number of those in the south; this has not materialised and the store continues to be government subsidised,government operated and government controlled. Unfortunately no rotating fund was set up at the time and instead money is sent to the Treasury Department in Ottawa which is somewhat irregular in returning funds. Consequently as of June 17, 1968, there had been a period of approximately six weeks during which no money was available to pay the women for their work, and vouchers had to be given instead. For some young Indian women i t is possible to go outside the t e r r i -tory for further training or to a prearranged job. Where guidance is possible and contact maintained this has proved one way of giving them a comparative basis but sponsorship under the Department of Indian Affairs is available for only a limited few who measure up to the standards of the school system and are registered Indians. Indications are (in a very limited sense because of small numbers) that girls who go to the south from the Yukon for vocational training, high school or upgrading are f a i r l y successful. In 1967-68, three girls (no boys) were taking upgrading courses in Victoria, B.C. and one was the school's best student. At high school in Victoria there were 5 gir l s and one boy. At vocational school in Vancouver there were 8 gir l s and 5 boys. In June of 1968 6 girls and 1 boy were scheduled to go in September 1968 (Whitehorse IAB). Unmarried women without children who are trained in Whitehorse as nursing assistants are usually encouraged to so south to work for a while, but the matron of the Whitehorse General Hospital states that before many of them agree to go, they exact a promise that they w i l l be allowed to return. On the other hand, without adequate guidance, going "outside" can be more painful. A 17 year old g i r l with six years of formal schooling who had spent two years in Whitehorse before returning to her village 98. expressed the unrealistic belief that although she could not get a job in Whitehorse,1 she would be able to do so in Vancouver. Whitehorse is the only yardstick she has by which to judge a city. A 15 year old g i r l on probation, who had dropped out of an occupational course, admitted that she originally got into trouble with the law so that someone would pay attention to her and perhaps send her south to a job or to school. She acknowledged that she would prefer to stay in the Territory except that Whitehorse was "too rough". By comparison Edmonton or Vancouver are hardly more encouraging. Girls who have come to the south have described the d i f f i c u l t y they experienced in adjusting to street lights, buses, telephones, t r a f f i c , application forms, etc. Discussion with the administrator of the Y.M.C.A. in Edmonton confirmed that this is the only place in the city to which transient girls can be referred for reasonable accommodation. Because of the influx of native girls from the north a native woman is on duty each evening at the bus stop to guide g i r l s to the "Y". The situation has led to such overcrowding that the administrator states girls are allowed only "one chance", the alternative usually being the Boyle Street ghetto. The need for greater accommodation and guidance f a c i l i t i e s is recognized in most c i t i e s , but to date not enough have been provided. The Whitehorse Vocational School was established in 1962 to alleviate the situation of a surplus unskilled labour created by uneven distribution of employment possibilities throughout the Territory and the resulting "overurbanization". No separation is recorded between Indian and non-Indian students because a l l come under the sponsorship of the Department of Manpower, but the school principal estimates that 99. approximately 35% of the students i n i t i a l l y enrolled in September, 1967 were of Indian status. It is apparent that a number of young people regard this training as the key to "status" employment either in Whitehorse or beyond the Territory. In actual fact, they are equipped with only rudi-mentary s k i l l s and often jobs are not available for them when they graduate. Beyond upgrading, the courses available for women include secretarial s k i l l s , hairdressing, cooking and nursing assistant. One native woman who graduated f i r s t in her cooking class, found that i n i t i a l l y she could get employment only as a laundress. She expressed the view that young girls often have aspirations raised without adequate counselling, and think that they w i l l have a job assured upon graduation. They give up when they find that their training is of limited value in the employment market. There are a number of unemployed hairdressers throughout the territory. One young native woman in Dawson was able to set up a successful hairdressing salon but in most villages both the clientele and the financial backing are lacking. The Vancouver Manpower office has indicated to the school principal that native women, specifically, may have d i f f i c u l t y finding employment as hairdressers there and they should be advised not to come to that city. Regardless of the subsidiary benefits acquired by training, their own expectations are not being f u l f i l l e d . Counselling and assessment of the individual student's aims is of essential importance in order to match expectations with practical possi-b i l i t i e s . An experimental Vocational Training Centre at Churchill, Manitoba, is offering courses in basic homemaking s k i l l s to girls from the Eastern Subarctic and northern Quebec. The stated aim of this program is 100. to'prepare the students for adjustment to the wage based economy" and "to assist the g i r l s to become better homemakers and thus improve the standard of living in their future homes"(so that) "this w i l l in time raise the socio-economic status of the north',' (Canada: Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Education Division, 1966). This school is broader in scope than the Whitehorse one but the definition of i t s aims presents an inconsistency. The question which arises is whether these girls are being trained for jobs which non-Indians define as menial or for a kind of motherhood which they define as good. This is not to suggest that the two categories are mutually exclusive but the effectiveness of the course w i l l depend on whether administrators and girls can assess what possibilities are available. If students believe, as a number of gi r l s in the Yukon seem to, that this w i l l prepare them to go south and participate in the wage economy, they should be made aware that they are being .trained for low level, marginal positions which are not considered prestigious by the larger society. There is a disturbing tendency for Indian students to be placed in occupational courses with the expectation that this is the limit of their capabilities. These courses have considerable potential for equipping girls with certain s k i l l s but they are downgraded by non-Indians. This in turn leads to lack of interest on the g i r l s ' part {interpreted as 'laziness') and the drop-out is high. In the occupational courses offered by F. H. Collins secondary school in Whitehorse, the total enroll-ment is a l l three levels in September, 1967 included 18 native girls and 8 white g i r l s . By June, 1968, 5 native girls and 6 white girls remained. 101. As far as the teacher could ascertain most of the native g i r l s who dropped out had returned at least temporarily to their village. Such s k i l l s could be used in the north in relatively prestigious positions making i t possible for some girls to demonstrate these in different communities, perhaps linked with a home economist. Some aspects of the Community Health Worker program have been outlined. Training courses held in the provinces give individuals exposure to other people, other situations and other ideas beyond the Territory. One problem is that this opportunity is available to only a few people. With exception of a pilot projject currently underway in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in which Indian mothers are being trained as teacher-aids (See Appendix II) no analogous programs exist in the Department of Indian Affairs. A branch o f f i c i a l in the Personnel Division at the Ottawa level explained that this was because there was no demand from the Indian people for such programs. This directly contradicts evidence which was encountered, but is consistent with the view that bureaucracies are present rather than future cr i s i s oriented and that few channels exist to inform administrators of what people really want. On five different occasions (three in the Yukon) I encountered g i r l s who said that they would like to do "some kind of social work" i f the chance were available, yet the chances of their completing University are negligible. Two had already dropped out of school. An Indian g i r l from the Northwest Territories who has been in the south for two years is entering University in September 1968 with the aim of acquiring technical knowledge to return to the north in an educational capacity. One of the recommendations of the Alberta Native Women's Conference requested that young people be employed to work as intermediaries between teachers and parents. At an Indian 102. Eskimo Association Conference (Nov. 24, 1967), a member of the Canadian Indian Youth Council stressed that the trend is for younger people who have been educated away from the reserve to look for ways to return in a useful capacity. The Canadian Save the Children Fund employed a young Indian woman to work as a liaison officer between the various northern Ontario Homemakers Clubs and when they joined with the southern groups her duties were expanded to include working with them. The Company of Young Canadians has fourteen Indian status volunteers and two Indian staff members. Undoubtedly i t is not easy for young people to gain co-operation from their elders but this is in no way unique to the Indian culture. The possibilities of exploring opportunities for persons to bridge the culture gap are far from completely considered. At present the educational system is so constructed that one must be geared to high level extended training or be content with manual s k i l l s , and l i t t l e attention is paid to the middle range where persons with other interests and capabilities might be able to operate. Inter-mediate technology is being touted as a way of helping development, but l i t t l e attention is being paid to the training of intermediate technologists^, at least in Canada;! A c r i t i c a l problem discussed by Edward T. Hall (1967) is the need to project manpower needs and to integrate these with the educational system, using existing talents to equip individuals with training for the future rather than for low level obsolete positions. In the United States, the manual dexterity Chippewa women displayed in craftwork was utilised in the manufacture of delicate electrical instruments (Hall, ibid). In certain Scandinavian countries and in some parts of the United States the very 103. attitudes cr i t i c i z e d among the Indians were found to lead to better production, less absenteeism, and fewer rejects. These factories operate on a 24 hour basis and employees are allowed latitude in self-scheduling. This means that a woman can get children ready for school and be home for meals putting in working hours at her own convenience (Lurie 1967; Steiner 1968). Yukoners, close to Alaska, express considerable interest in tourism. Here again, the s k i l l s of the native people apart from game guiding from men and craftwork for women are overlooked. Tourists are often interested in learning about the area f i r s t hand from native people. In one conversation, two Indian women suggested than an Indian restaurant serving traditional foods would be a practical and satisfying means of employment i f financial backing and technical assistance were available. Indian girls are regularly taught to cook "Whiteman's food" in home economics, occupational and vocational courses, but l i t t l e premium is placed on preserving traditional recipes. Although wild meat cannot be sold on the open market, a special licence can be obtained for this purpose, and beyond this varieties of roots and fish can be prepared. Ideas for tourism are endless but when Indian people have suggestions, they do not know whom to approach. 104 Voluntary Associations: In some areas of Canada, Indian women have found that participation in voluntary associations is an effective method of testing their ideas. It seems that women anywhere are often more willing to offer their views i f they have some assurance that other people w i l l not downgrade them. In the north, perhaps because there were no structured non-kin groups traditionally, organizations have been introduced by non-Indians. In 1931, an entrepreneurial missionary's wife introduced a Woman's Auxiliary to the then isolated settlement of Old Crow; (Balikci 1963:149). Younger women later organized a separate W.A. which studied such topics as missionary work in Japan and Africa and the problems of church unity. During the war, while many Indian people to the south were experiencing contact with Alaska highway builders, Indian women in Old Crow were raising funds for the Canadian Red Cross and later, for Christians in Korea. Balikci's informants suggested that decisions made at W.A. meetings could influence votes at band meetings. In the communities farther south in the Yukon, women's groups have become the province of southern wives who transport these to the north. There is l i t t l e informal contact between White and Indian women in the villages or in Whitehorse. Several non-Indian women attributed this to the fact that Indian women w i l l not participate in the organizations such as W.A.'s and P.T.A.'s which they have set up. Since the standards of dress, conversation and behavior are established by the non-Indian women in whose hands the leadership invariably remains, there is l i t t l e chance that native women would feel at ease in this milieu. In many cases i t is questionable whether some of these women would be willing to meet Indian women socially in any capacity other than that of "helping the native to better herself." 105. Letters written to 10 Women's Institutes in the Yukon and Northwest Territories asking about the participation of Indian women brought the following replies from the two who answered: "The white women and Indian women do not mix much. It seems to be a mutual preference" (Carmacks, Jan. 11, 1968). "We have as yet no Indian members, though some part Indian." (Teslin, Feb. 2, 1968). In Dawson the original Woman's Auxiliary s p l i t into two groups: one for non-Indian women and one for Indian women. An article in North elaborating the good works of the Women's Institute in Haines Junction, in the Yukon, suggests the typical approach: "A program was planned to aid Indians in the area. To attract Indian women, refreshments of tea and cookies or cake were served to follow an hour of instruction which made a pleasant gathering for the women and also encou-raged them to return again for the following meetings which would inform them of nutrition, child care, personal hygiene, communicable diseases, etc." '(Hough, 1969: 31). The ethnocentric bias stated here clearly indicates certain pre-conceived ideas about the position of Indian women, the assumption being from the outset that the structure of communications should be a l l one way and that i t is the Whitewoman who must teach the Indians. An effort made' to locate spheres of interest to which the Indian women could contribute would provide a much firmer basis for exchange and dialogue than a course of instruction buffered by forced social pleasantaries. It would be equally instructive for Indian women to teach craftwork and explain the past and present history from their point of view. Not having been instrumental in the definition of the problem, they are unlikely to become involved in a situation where a group of non-Indian women who have previous 106. demonstrated l i t t l e interest in cultivating their acquaintance gather them together to t e l l them what they, the outsiders, have diagnosed as the "Indians' problem". McNickle's (1967) analysis of problem solving comes closer to the central issue: ". . . to solve problems you have to be part of the process out of which the solutions grow. This cannot be done from outside no matter what resources are available in terms of money or people. It can only happen when the people in the community see the problem and made a decision." In these terms a more r e a l i s t i c approach has recently been taken in the Whitehorse village by a native and a non-Indian woman, who meet with some of the women in the village on the latters' terms. In this informal setting women do beadwork and conversation arises around topics which interest the village women specifically. Any highly preplanned situation is by definition low in opportunities for participation. Leadership cannot arise where rules and aims are imposed from outside. It is out of this less structured situation that there is some possibility for an out-growth of common interests. Indian women are not "joiners" in the sense of becoming involved in a structured situation for the sake of belonging. When they see possibilities of achieving worthwhile results from working together, they are l ikely to do so. One example of this occurred in the operation of a clothing room in Whitehorse where second hand garments are sold for token prices every Friday night. When this was set up by Maryhouse, the organization of the room was supervised by a staff worker and women from 107. town volunteered to help fold clothing and clean the room on Thursday nights. Because of the limited number of volunteers and amount of work involved in maintaining the operation the room eventually had to be closed. Subsequently a number of Indian women came and requested that they be given the key to the room as well as the responsibility for i t s upkeep, and the sales were reinstated. 108. Adult Education: Closely linked with the subject of voluntary association is that of adult education. There are currently no adult education programs in the Yukon apart from s t r i c t l y technical training and upgrading courses which are offered at the Whitehorse vocational school and which have,little relevance for mothers. This is consistent with the philosophy that programs should be geared towards salvaging the youth. .However, at the rate at which young people are leaving school, often before reaching high school, the expectations aroused about these programs seem to be unrealistic. Adult education is often considered solely in terms of teaching the Indians to make the best of a bad bargain while instructing them in the ways of the non-Indian. Again, the subject is more properly one of communication. Several nurses, social workers and teachers who deal directly with the Indian population have agreed that a general course linking anthropology and history of the native people would give Whites a better working basis. Some have stated that i t is only after they have been in the area for a few years and are about to leave that they realize what potential does exist. There are definitely native women who would be capable of grounding such a course in practical situations by explaining to non-Indians in a relatively informal setting how their lives and the lives of their families have changed in the past twenty, thirty, or forty years. They could also point out areas where they feel specific problems arise. This idea is being considered for Inuvik where a course may be offered by University extension and credits given. There is a wealth of knowledge to be obtained from the experiences of the native people and 109. too often i t remains dormant. It is only by f i r s t reversing the situation that dialogue can be achieved on a r e a l i s t i c basis; in exchange, there are certain s k i l l s which non-Indians could teach Indian persons. There is an oft quoted saying that: "to teach a man, is to teach an individual, but to teach a woman is to teach a family and a nation." The attitudes of the mother largely determine the atmosphere in the home, and i f she can see some value in education this w i l l be transmitted to her children. A major reason for students leaving school stems from lack of encouragement in the home as well as in the school. If the mother is to maintain her respected role in the family, i t is necessary that she be given the opportunity to learn along with her children and to see that education can s t i l l be related to the real world. Mothers consistently dichotomized between the concepts of "education for l i f e " which they f e l t they were given and the kind of education they believe their children are receiving. No type of education w i l l be acceptable until the individuals involved recognize that there is some value in i t ; neither can i t be bureaucratized by central planning since different needs emerge in different communities. The idea that a l l learning must occur in a classroom is unrealistic in many cases. Public health programmes have achieved a certain measure of success through nurses who work with individual women in each village. Nurses have recognized that demonstration of practical results at the individual level is more acceptable than is group instruction toward long-term goals. It would commendable i f teachers could attempt the same approach by v i s i t i n g homes to provide native parents with some understanding 110. of what is happening to their children. Few teachers in the north v i s i t native parents; P.T.A.'s are white dominated and white run. It is doubtful i f many Indian parents are even aware of their existence or what they mean, even i f they could feel comfortable attending these meetings. Admittedly, few teachers v i s i t non-Indian parents either, but this ignores the greater gap which exists between the school and the Indian child's home and the value which Indian women place on informal v i s i t s in the home rather than appointments in the school office. A basic tool in any education program is literacy, usually vaguely defined as an elementary a b i l i t y to read and write. U.N.E.S.C.O. identified i l l i t e r a c y as one of the major problems facing the world today, and estimates that there are at least 700 million i l l i t e r a t e s in the world over the age of fifteen, the majority being women (Bruce 1968: 171). There are no::accurate statistics on the level of adult Indian literacy in the Yukon, but i t would be safe to estimate that few adults over the age of thirty had the opportunity or saw the necessity to receive more than a few years of formal schooling. Literacy, like education, is not an end in i t s e l f , but rather a bridge to the identification of po s s i b i l i t i e s . The idea that knowledge, be i t about self-government or child care can be gained without the support of literacy is highly unrealistic in an area bent on "development". Development has been defined as "use of science and technology to extend man's control over his physical and social environment with the aim of improving human welfare and maximizing the choice of individuals in social, economic and p o l i t i c a l spheres" (Lotz 1967: 11). This means ensuring that individuals participate in choices which are affecting them, keeping them informed about 111. what is actually happening and finding out their reactions. Indians are often considered peripheral to this development specifically because they lack the a b i l i t y to read and write. Although many of the so-called native " i l l i t e r a t e s " speak two or three languages, the fact that they can neither read nor write limits their world and leaves certain of their affairs open to control. Signs and posters are appearing in villages and children bring magazines and news-papers into the,house. In a paper dominated society, Indian women, too, receive forms which have to be f i l l e d out. Recently the Indian Affairs Branch sent booklets to Indians, requesting information which would lead to changes in the Indian Act. It is doubtful whether many of the recipients in the north could even read them. As women do more shopping in stores they have to contend with a variety of boxes of different shapes and sizes which have to be read. Even menial jobs usually require some measure of literacy. Three letters the researcher received from women in Northern Ontario and the Yukon contained an apology because they had to be written by someone else. Mothers are unable to help children with homework. Numerous examples could be cited from everyday l i f e . Adult education is a process of voluntary association in that adults do not have to learn what is being taught, and they can leave when they want. A letter from a native woman in Fort Smith noted: "As far as Adult Education is concerned, I think the women should be asked exactly what they want to learn. Far too often programs are just set up and we're lef t with a "take i t or leave i t " attitude." Learning new s k i l l s means giving up free time and without demonstration of positive results, interest lags quickly. In addition, the adult student 112. often has more experience in l i f e than the teacher and the latter's success depends on his a b i l i t y to respect this. The tendency for non-Indians to expect involvement to be fast and total is highly unrealistic: simple short term relationships and goals develop before complex long term ones. Cross cultural studies amply document the fact that people w i l l hot become involved in a program unless they believe i t to be their own. 113. The Larger Context: A t t i t u d e s held by non-Indians are f r e q u e n t l y more important than the a c t u a l s i t u a t i o n since these are the b e l i e f s which support behavior. These are c o n s i s t e n t l y based on the h i g h l y v i s i b l e Indians, whom everyone ' sees, and ignore the l e s s v i s i b l e segment. Consciously or unconsciously the premise has grown up among many non-Indians i n the Yukon that Yukon Indians, l a c k i n g a d i s t i n c t l y preserved c u l t u r a l h e r i t a g e , are b a s i c a l l y i n f e r i o r to Indian people elsewhere. This i s the type of pat e r n a l i s m which conditions behavior, lowers e x p e c t a t i o n s , b l i n d s non-Indians to the p o t e n t i a l which does e x i s t and creates a r a t i o n a l e f o r d i f f e r e n t treatment. The f a c t that n a t i v e people l i v i n g i n the north lacked s u f f i c i e n t surplus necessary to build.Va complex c u l t u r e w i t h attendent manifestations of a r t forms and chiefdoms i n no way i n d i c a t e s that they lacked i n g e n u i t y ; r a t h e r i t was necessary that they e x e r c i s e con-s i d e r a b l e i n d i v i d u a l i s m and e x p l o i t a l l a v a i l a b l e resources i n t h e i r environment i n order to s u r v i v e . In a continuous process of. adjustment to t h e i r environment, many of them were more r e c e p t i v e to c e r t a i n of the Whiteman's ideas than were Indians to the south who saw encroachment as a thre a t to t r a d i t i o n a l p a t t e r n s . Instead of being accepted as i n d i v i d u a l s , they were lumped as a corporate group and brought under a f o r e i g n system of government never completely explained to them and consequently never understood or accepted. Euphemistic reference to "the Indian community" l a r g e l y r e f l e c t a perceptual o r i e n t a t i o n of non-Indians (See King 1967). As elsewhere i n Canada there has been schizophrenic v a c i l l a -t i o n between the d e s i r e to keep the n a t i v e i n h i s p r i s t i n e s t a t e and to 114. absorb him into the larger economy. The non-Indians in charge of administering the Indians can seldom agree among themselves as to which methods should be used. The selection of integration as the major goal of IAB policy coincided with the decision of many Indian people to reject i t . Brzesinski (1968) links the growth of ideologies with the need for abstract responses to large remote problems, and more specifically, the ideology of rejection with the widening gap between cultures which precludes any rea-l i s t i c possibility of imitation. "Integration" has come to be the accepted policy of the Indian Affairs Branch and in the north this is seen as a necessary i f unfortunate goal which w i l l cause transitional pains for a few generations until ultimately the Indian problem w i l l vanish. This idea that the Indian must f i r s t become a tabula rasa whence he w i l l internalize the values of White Anglo-Saxons is short-sighted, and f a i l s to recognize that in Canada this means integration into a plural society in which any r e a l i s t i c decision making must come from both sides. Mannoni, speaking of Africa notes: "The social and mental state of the native is certainly not to be expressed as a fraction in which the numerator represents the proportion of Western c i v i l i z a t i o n which he has already absorbed and the denominator the total amount we feel he ought to absorb" (Mannoni 1964: 23). Another paradox which arises shows the gap between theory and behavior as held and practised by a number of non-Indians. On several occasions, individuals suggested that I spend as l i t t l e time as possible in Whitehorse with the advice that "there are no interesting Indians here" or " a l l good Indians are in the bush." The choice of the words "interesting" and "good" reflects the ina b i l i t y of many non-Indians to 115. see Indian people as people. On one hand the non-Indian demands that the Indian accept certain of his values, but on the other hand he condemns him for trying. An Indian woman who has lived in Whitehorse for some time and has experienced the conflicts of breaking away from the village elaborated this: "It's fine up to a point but I often feel that they don't really mean i t . Even the 'do-gooders' who say they want to help Indian people only want you to get to a certain point so they can say 'look what I did for you'. They never really see you as a person and they never forget that they've 'helped an Indian'." This desire to assist from a status position is recognised and resented by Indian women everywhere. An Indian woman living in Toronto who is involved in Adult Education program for Indian women states that she was besieged with requests from people who wanted to "help", but when she asked them to baby-sit the women's children while the latter attended classes, she got l i t t l e response. In defining "acculturation" the Social Science Research Council follows the definition advanced by Redfield, Linton, and Herskovits as "comprehending those phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous f i r s t hand contact with subsequent changes in the original patterns of either or both groups" (Redfield 1936). It is obvious that throughout Canada there has been great variation in the composition of the "groups of individuals" and in the "patterns of f i r s t hand contact." This process is neither uni-dimensional nor simple; i t occurs at different rates in different areas and involves a complex series of adjustment to a variety of problems. What has often ,'not been under-stood is that acculturation is a process, not a condition and that i t works 116. two ways: "Culture contact has to be regarded not as a transfer of elements from one culture to another but as a continuous process of inter-action between groups of a different culture" (Fortes, Meyer: quoted in Beals 1962: 381). Social scientists who define 'levels of acculturation 1 of a particular group of individuals and who treat these levels as cumula-tive and one way, are limited to looking at only one side of the process without reference to the effects on the other group in the situation. In a recent issue of North the Clerk of the Privy Council and a former Deputy Minister of the former Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources made the statement: "We have failed to appreciate the enormous d i f f i c u l t y of adapting people to a new situation for which their concept of l i f e and their ideas of human relationships give them no preparation whatsoever. Perhaps i t is because the north is part of Canada geographically that we have failed to recognize the human problem for the fundamental one i t i s " (Robertson 1967 : 49). The human problem is indeed fundamental but Indian women who have always lived in a highly personalized world where human relations were of primary importance undoubtedly have less to learn about human relationships than the Whiteman. To date, the non-Indian has merely succeeded in shattering the relationships within Indian families. It is less a process of adapting people to a situation than of seeing what they can contribute to i t in their own terms. Active participation is a more reasonable solution than is the requirement of passive adjustment which can continue only for so long before i t is released in rejection or outright h o s t i l i t y . The problem of how to establish and maintain co-operation becomes serious. There are no "right" solutions to "problems" because they can 117. only reflect the interests and perceptions of a specific group. Dr. Edmund Leach has pinpointed one of the most serious hindrances to co-operation in the contemporary world (Aug. 6th, CBC Radio Broadcast "The Best of Ideas"). The education system in the western world places great priority on analysing and breaking down elements of behavior and slotting a l l experiences into categories which were developed by the Greeks before the Fifth-Century B.C., and which no longer work. When experience proves so complex that i t doesn't f i t neatly into expected patterns, most people alter neither their expecta-tions nor their categories, but persist in trying to make them coincide. Within any one culture communication channels are relatively clear. Leach points out that what prevented human beings from speciating in the evolu-. tionary process was not interbreeding, but the ab i l i t y to communicate. Communications between the Indian and non-Indian cultures is necessary in Canada - this is obvious. But this implies that the non-Indian accept the Indian culture as a valid way of looking at and handling the world. It also implies that the Whiteman should be prepared to learn from the Indian, and that the flow of ideas and information be two way, and not limited to having the Whiteman t e l l the Indian what to do, and how to do i t . Communication between cultures is not an abstract process - i t implies the presence of human communicators. Indian women are at the centre of a whole network of communication when they live on a reserve or in an Indian village, and they are also the individuals most lik e l y to migrate permanently from the reserve through marriage. Either way, they tend to come into first-hand contact with a variety of representatives of the non-Indian culture. The distinction of 118. Indian status becomes totally meaningless in many cases in that frequently i t is women who have married non-Indians and have been exposed to both cultures who have the greatest a b i l i t y and willingness to grasp what the problems are. The search for solutions which w i l l magically cause the so-called "Indian problem" to disappear continues, but in some quarters there persists the naive belief that only non-Indians are capable of devising these. Only by letting the people involved in the processes of change define channels whereby ideas can be openly discussed w i l l a starting point for effective action be achieved. 119. Conclusion: This thesis has attempted to outline some of the problems and possib i l i t i e s facing Indian women living in the midst of social and economic upheavals. Northern Indians live in a rapidly changing environment where rules and decisions about large scale changes are made by outsiders. Until recently, administrators in Canada appear to have considered that Indian women's activities were relatively insignificant, when they considered them at a l l . The failure to recognize that policies evoke different reactions from women than from men has been a major factor in creating the breach which separates many Indian men and Indian women, and the consequent restructuring of many families. The present administrative apparatus for Indians would seem to prevent real involvement of Indians in decisions which directly affect them. Administrative personnel work within constraints of local depart-ments, which in turn must comply with the conditions set by the distant bureaucracy. A paper explosion seems to have replaced individual respon-. s i b i l i t y and effective action. Many non-Indians see themselves as experts qualified to decide 'what is good for Indians' and 'what Indians need'. Usually, these one-sided decisions are directed toward Indian men. A number of new choices are becoming available to Indian women. They are moving into wage work; they are travelling outside their home villages; they have access to government financial assistance. Their role in spending, housing, health, education and family headship is increasing. They are meeting non-Indians and they are learning new ways to cope with changes. Indian women's range of choices is broadening 120. at a time when Indian men's choices are both narrowing and being controlled by outsiders. It is significant that Indian men are being encouraged to operate in economic and p o l i t i c a l activities which can be administered by non-Indians. Not only are Indian women's choices increasing, but they are increasing in areas which are less subject to outside control. There are no clearly agreed upon norms about how Indian women ought to behave. However, these women are showing themselves to be capable of adapting to changes without necessarily adopting the views of the dominant society. They seem to be redefining their roles both because of, and in spite of, conflicting demands placed on them. Too often outsiders focus on problems native women meet in situations of culture contact and treat these in a pathological sense, rather than looking at stabilizing influences women have. This thesis has suggested ways in which women could be involved more directly in decisions which affect them. Any such development can occur only on terms which the women themselves consider meaningful. Steps being taken by Indian women in southern Canada suggest possibilities for the North. There is nothing deterministic about the future of Indian women's roles in any part of Canada. If given the opportunity they may be able to become links between the past and the future. Indian women are in a position to teach non-Indians a great deal about human adaptability and human relations. In the North, where the past and the future co-exist, i t is s t i l l possible that some non-Indians w i l l be able to learn from the Indian culture. The values of 121. Indian cultures, far from being outmoded, w i l l become increasingly important in the future with the need for co-operation toward common goals. Only by understanding that there are no "inferior" cultures, but rather different and equally valid ways of looking at the world, is there any hope that Canadians can actually achieve their frequently stated goal of becoming a truly p l u r a l i s t i c nation. 122. APPENDIX I: Table I FAMILY COMPOSITION IN TEN YUKON BANDS The following figures have at least limited value in that they show the structure of families as they are recorded in Indian Affairs Branch band l i s t s for 10 bands in the Yukon Territory. Their significance lies in the fact that they represent a legal statement, i f not always social fact, and that in many cases i t is the legal status which is important to women. COLUMN 1 and 2: indicate the number of married men and married women listed for each band (with or without dependent children). The I.A.B. category "marriage" is described in a "key to band l i s t s " as including both unions by church ceremony and unions by Indian custom. (See Table II for further breakdown.) COLUMN 3: indicates women listed as "separated","widowed" or "divorced". It also includes unmarried women 21 years of age or older who are listed in the band l i s t s indepen-dently of a larger family. (See Table III for further breakdown.) COLUMN 4: indicates men listed as "separated", "widowed", or "divorced" as well as unmarried men 21 years of age or older. 123. COL. 1 Married Women BAND YEAR CARCROSS 1964 7 1965 6 1966 6 CARMACKS 1964 26 1965 24 1966 24 CHAMPAGNE 1964 19 1965 18 1966 17 DAWSON CITY 1964 10 1965 10 1966 9 MAYO 1964 10 1965 12 1966 12 OLD CROW 1964 18 1965 18 1966 18 ROSS RIVER 1964 13 1965 14 1966 14 SELKIRK 1964 29 1965 26 1966 27 TESLIN LAKE 1964 25 1965 26 1966 24 WHITEHORSE 1964 27 1965 26 1966 26 COL. 2 COL. 3 COL. 4 Married Independent Independent Men Unmarried Unmarried Women Men 7 12 7 6 12 8 6 12 8 26 23 24 24 27 24 24 26 27 19 15 23 18 16 24 17 15 25 10 23 24 10 24 24 9 26 24 10 18 20 12 17 19 12 17 21 18 21 19 18 19 17 18 22 18 13 15 14 14 13 13 14 12 14 29 17 31 26 25 33 27 26 36 25 17 17 26 17 20 24 18 23 27 28 44 26 37 47 26 36 49 -V 2 undetermined 123 (a) APPENDIX I Table II MARRIAGE TYPES: Both marriages by Indian Custom and Church Ceremony are formerly recognized in band l i s t s . A breakdown for 1966 in the 10 bands differen-tiates these further. Although dates of marriage are not listed, in a l l cases where a marriage occurred by Indian custom both spouses were born before 1934. A B C (A plus B) INDIAN CHURCH TOTAL NUMBER OF 1966: BAND CUSTOM CEREMONY RECOGNIZED UNIONS CARCROSS 6 6 CARMACKS 10 14 24 CHAMPAGNE 5 12 17 DAWSON CITY 2 7 9 MAYO - 12 12 OLD CROW - 18 18 ROSS RIVER 5 9 14 SELKIRK 2 25 27 TESLIN LAKE 1 23 . 24 WHITEHORSE 16 10 26 124. APPENDIX I Table III INDEPENDENT WOMEN: The column lumping independent women can be further broken down. This was done for 1966. BAND UNMARRIED MOTHERS WIDOWED OR SEPARATED WOMEN INDEPENDENT WOMEN WITHOUT CHILDREN (over 21 yr.) TOTAL CARCROSS CARMACKS CHAMPAGNE DAWSON CITY MAYO OLD CROW ROSS RIVER SELKIRK TESLIN LAKE WHITEHORSE 9 11 7 17 15 5 6 15 10 20 2 9 4 4 2 12 2 7 4 12 1 6 4 5 5 4 4 4 4 12 26 15 26 17 22 12 26 18 36 i 125. APPENDIX II THE "INDIAN AID" PROJECT A pilot project for the training of "Indian Aids", designed by a female education specialist in the Indian Affairs Branch is currently under way in Saskatchewan in co-operation with the Extension Department of the University of Saskatchewan. This is to coincide with increasing attention being paid to children under the age of five. A number of Indian mothers (preferably two per community) from Manitoba and Saskatchewan are being trained jointly with teachers with whom they w i l l work in a pre-school classroom. The aims of this project are to: a) relieve teachers of non-professional duties; b) ease the transition from home to school; c) assist communication between teacher and child; d) provide reassurance to parents; e) encourage Indian women to continue their training as teachers. If successful i t is hoped that i t w i l l spread to other provinces, in which case training is expected to be taken over by the provinces. 126. 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