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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The water we call home : five generations of Indigenous women's resistance along the Salish Sea Hallenbeck, Jessica Wynne


This dissertation foregrounds that which has receded from view. On one hand, it is about the material effects of settler colonial logics of elimination; the disappearance of Indigenous women from settler archives and commissions and the separation of fish, water, and land. On the other, it is about the persistence of Indigenous relationships to fish, water, and family along the Salish Sea. This dissertation is structured around two main questions. First: What are the logics and materialities of settler archives? A second question follows: How is settler colonial occlusion and dispossession resisted and subverted by connections held by Indigenous women to water, fish, and family? To answer these questions, I develop a methodological approach that involves close collaboration with Rosemary Georgeson, a Coast Salish and Sahtu Dene fisherman, storyteller, and playwright. Much of the empirical work of this dissertation has centered on us finding her Indigenous grandmothers Tlahoholt and Sar-Augh-Ta-Naogh and reconnecting with their descendants. In the first part of the dissertation I trace the disappearance of Rosemary's Indigenous grandmothers and of Coast Salish women from archives, Commission transcripts, and local histories. In the second, I turn away from the settler archive and the stories that it animates to argue for the importance of refusing archival recovery. Instead, I turn towards collaborating with Rosemary to share part of the story of her family in relation to water, fish, and urbanization. This turning away takes two forms; a film (Chapter 6) and a co-authored article (Chapter 7). Ultimately, this thesis develops a unique decolonizing methodological approach to archival research that reveals the endurance of connections and strengthens Indigenous futurities.

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