Colonialism Isn’t the Only Answer: Indigenous Peoples and Multilevel Governance in Canada
Multilevel governance (MLG) provides opportunities for organised Indigenous women to promote women-friendly policies. Considerations of decolonisation and nationhood are also explicit in the political activism of Indigenous women and in their involvement with the Canadian state, to the extent that they define the movement, the issues and the strategies pursued. Unlike European women, Indigenous women were considered persons, generally owners of matrimonial property, the intermediaries between men and power, the ones who brought the sacred ceremonies and political order to the nations. While federalism is typically viewed as an obstacle in addressing Indigenous demands and aspirations, engagement with MLG is also viewed as essential. Still, colonisation did not completely eliminate Indigenous gender ideas and practices so individuals and communities simultaneously manifest competing cultural identities and understandings of gender. Domestically, Indigenous political organisations are more than simply lobby groups and/or social movements.