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Prairie Families: Cree-Métis-Saulteux Materialities as Indigenous Feminist Materialist Record of Kinship-Based Selfhood

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Prairie Families: Cree-Métis-Saulteux Materialities as Indigenous Feminist Materialist Record of Kinship-Based Selfhood

Nixon, Lindsay (2018) Prairie Families: Cree-Métis-Saulteux Materialities as Indigenous Feminist Materialist Record of Kinship-Based Selfhood. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis was inspired by Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation’s administrative and patrilineal Anishinabe designation, and its erasure of the mixed Cree, Métis, and Saulteux communities that resulted in its formation. Tootinaowaziibeeng’s designation as an Anishinabe community is resultant of nationalistic historicizing that has created rigid boundaries between Cree, Métis, and Saulteux communities in the present, and an omitting of kinship webs that formed between the aforementioned communities in the nineteenth century. Kinship webs were the most important social and economic unit of plains Cree, Métis, and Salteaux communities throughout the 1800s, when a variety of Indigenous peoples were coming together in southern Manitoba to form singular camps, unified by shared teachings, common economies like the buffalo, and for mutual survivance. Cree-Métis-Saulteaux materialities—such as quillwork and beading on garments—that were made and collected in the Canadian prairies during the 1800s are material records of kinship webs that understood Cree-Métis-Saulteaux kinship as “fluid, flexible, and inclusive,” as Robert Alexander Innes has described. The use of the term materialities herein draws from Kim Tallbear’s research in the field of feminist, new materialisms, which considers the animacy of so-called objects that relate to Indigenous communities.

Applying methodologies for decolonial museology, kinship becomes a decolonial tool that animates nineteenth century Cree-Métis-Saulteaux materialities housed in the Thaw Collection at the Fenimore Museum, once enlivened in proto-feminist spaces wherein Cree-Métis-Saulteaux relationalities took form as materialities, asserting a new mixed aesthetics that represented how Cree-Métis-Saulteaux peoples saw themselves. Drawing from the family histories of the author—stories passed on from their feminine relations, kohkoms, aunties, and cousins—and research with materialities in museum archives, this thesis applies Kim Anderson’s concepts around feminist selfhood to better understand Cree-Métis-Saulteaux peoples outside of nationalistic and bureaucratic categorization. Feminine knowledges of matrilineal decent assist in making contemporary assertions of identity grounded in principles of rematriation—Indigenous selfhoods understood through kinship webs and social organization passed on through the knowledge of women’s communities.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Nixon, Lindsay
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:1 September 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Igloliorte, Heather and Nixon, Lindsay
ID Code:984472
Deposited By: LINDSAY NIXON
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 15:04
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 15:04
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