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[book cover] Living on the Land

Edited by Nathalie Kermoal and Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez

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June 2016

9781771990417 (Paperback)
9781771990424 (PDF)
9781771990431 (ePub)


Indigenous Studies



About the Book

An extensive body of literature on Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing has been written since the 1980s. This research has for the most part been conducted by scholars operating within Western epistemological frameworks that tend not only to deny the subjectivity of knowledge but also to privilege masculine authority. As a result, the information gathered predominantly reflects the types of knowledge traditionally held by men, yielding a perspective that is at once gendered and incomplete. Even those academics, communities, and governments interested in consulting with Indigenous peoples for the purposes of planning, monitoring, and managing land use have largely ignored the knowledge traditionally produced, preserved, and transmitted by Indigenous women. While this omission reflects patriarchal assumptions, it may also be the result of the reductionist tendencies of researchers, who have attempted to organize Indigenous knowledge so as to align it with Western scientific categories, and of policy makers, who have sought to deploy such knowledge in the service of external priorities. Such efforts to apply Indigenous knowledge have had the effect of abstracting this knowledge from place as well as from the world view and community—and by extension the gender—to which it is inextricably connected.

Living on the Land examines how patriarchy, gender, and colonialism have shaped the experiences of Indigenous women as both knowers and producers of knowledge. From a variety of methodological perspectives, contributors to the volume explore the nature and scope of Indigenous women’s knowledge, its rootedness in relationships both human and spiritual, and its inseparability from land and landscape. From the reconstruction of cultural and ecological heritage by Naskapi women in Québec to the medical expertise of Métis women in western Canada to the mapping and securing of land rights in Nicaragua, Living on the Land focuses on the integral role of women as stewards of the land and governors of the community. Together, these contributions point to a distinctive set of challenges and possibilities for Indigenous women and their communities.


About the Editors

Nathalie Kermoal is of Breton descent (a people whose territory is situated on the West coast of France). She is a professor as well as the Associate Dean Academic at the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. She is a bilingual specialist (French and English) in Canadian history and more specifically in Métis history.

Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez is Zapotec from the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Mexico. She holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.



Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez, Denise Geoffroy, Kathy L. Hodgson–Smith, Kahente Horn-Miller, Shalene Jobin, Nathalie Kermoal, Carole Lévesque, Leanna Parker, Brenda Parlee, Geneviève Polèse, Zoe Todd, Kristine Wray.



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Copyright: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). It may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that the original author is credited.


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Select a Chapter

Download Front Matter

Download Table of Contents

Download List of Maps and Figures

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Download Introduction: Indigenous Women and Knowledge
Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez and Nathalie Kermoal

Download1. Distortion and Healing: Finding Balance and a “Good Mind” Through the Rearticulation of Sky Woman’s Journey
Kahente Horn-Miller

Download2. Double Consciousness and Nehiyawak (Cree) Perspectives: Reclaiming Indigenous Women’s Knowledge
Shalene Jobin

Download3. Naskapi Women: Words, Narratives, and Knowledge
Carole Lévesque, Denise Geoffroy, and Geneviève Polèse

Download4. Mapping, Knowledge, and Gender in the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua
Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez and Leanna Parker

Download5. Métis Women’s Environmental Knowledge and the Recognition of Métis Rights
Nathalie Kermoal

Download6. Community-Based Research and Métis Women’s Knowledge in Northwestern Saskatchewan
Kathy L. Hodgson-Smith and Nathalie Kermoal

Download7. Gender and the Social Dimensions of Changing Caribou Populations in the Western Arctic
Brenda Parlee and Kristine Wray

Download8. “This Is the Life”: Women’s Role in Food Provisioning in Paulatuuq, Northwest Territories
Zoe Todd

DownloadList of Contributors


“A beautiful and complex collection of perspective, story, knowledge, and wisdom. This book captures the traditional role, depth, and power of the Indigenous women from the Mohawk, Cree, Naskapi, Métis, and Inuit peoples. [...] and gives each Indigenous woman a distinct voice on where she originates.”

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