UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Historians of their own lives : Okanagan and settler Ukrainian women's cross-cultural relationships during BC's colonial and industrial development Kober, LaVonne


This thesis examines cross-cultural relationships between Indigenous Okanagan and settler Ukrainian women who lived in Vernon and Head of the Lake areas of British Columbia during the province's colonial and industrial development in the early 1900s. The lived experiences shared by female participants in this project challenge the dominant historical narratives that have traditionally overlooked women's lived experiences. Women's histories are retrieved from the silence and invisibility of omission to fill in gaps in the literature concerning cross-cultural relationships between Okanagan Indigenous and settler Ukrainian women. In conceptualizing the histories of these women this thesis argues that the processes of colonization, largely influenced by male Eurocentric perspectives, have negatively impacted the development and maintenance of female cross-cultural relationships. Using Indigenous methodologies and research approaches that honor and respect Indigenouse perspectives and worldviews, I embarked on individual interviews with two older Okanagan and two older Ukrainian women from Vernon and Head of the Lake areas. Throughout the interviews it became evident that the intersections of race and gender prejudices were deeply embedded within the colonization processes of BC. These affected how Okanagan and Ukrainian women lived their lives individually and in relation to each other. A narrative analysis of the oral histories of Okanagan and Ukrainian women offers a study of the situations of Indigenous and immigrant European women in the early twentieth century in the Northern Okanagan. Through the use of oral interviews, archives, and narrative analysis this thesis explores how colonialism and the dominant culture influenced the significance of and the extent to which female cross-cultural relationships occurred during BC's colonial and industrial development.

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