łaʷeyasəns gayułas: Ancestral Teachings to Reclaim the Roles of Kwakwaka’wakw Women in Governance and Leadership
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This thesis explored the ancestral teachings regarding the roles of matriarchs and women in governance and leadership as a mechanism for restoring balance in Kwakwaka’wakw families and communities. This thesis emerged from the need to strengthen capacity in governance and leadership for Kwakwaka’wakw communities impacted by colonization. Participants were Ni’noxsola from the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. The decolonizing, action-oriented methods used were ceremony as research and kitchen table conversations. Through privileging Kwakwaka’wakw knowledge systems this thesis contributes new knowledge to the field of social sciences in governance and leadership with the following findings: (a) ancestral systems locate women as intrinsic leaders in traditional Kwakwaka’wakw governance systems and (b) integral to Kwakwaka’wakw governance and leadership is the importance of both men and women. Recommendations call for change at the systemic level for Kwakwaka’wakw Nations for traditional and colonial governance, postsecondary institutions, and governments to restore ancestral laws that equalize Indigenous women in governance and leadership. Keywords: Leadership, Governance, Indigenous Women, Indigenous Communities.