Gimaadaasamin, we are accounting for the people : support for customary governance in Deshkan Ziibiing
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SubjectCommunity-based Research; First Nations Studies; Indigenous methodologies; Indigenous Nationhood; Indigenous Studies; Participatory Action Research
For nearly 150 years, Canada’s Indian Act has been an impetus of assimilation, dispossession, and cultural genocide of First Nations peoples. Today it continues its reign as the arbiter of First Nation-Settler Canadian relationships despite its sordid history of upholding racist asymmetrical power dynamics. Vexingly, in the absence of original governance order, the Indian Act’s legitimacy is also upheld by the very First Nations it has oppressed. Using Participatory Action Research, this dissertation explores community support of a customary governance structure that departs from the Indian Act. Quantitative data collected from a survey produced in partnership with the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (Deshkan Ziibiing) Governance Committee showed that a majority of respondents support customary dodemiwan (clan system) governance. Using logistic regression to analyze support for custom governance on full, female, and male models, this research finds that those with higher reported Anishinaabe Values are more likely to support dodemiwan governance, making an inextricable link between lived Anishinaabe ways of life and Anishinaabe political order. Qualitative data collected from participants in Deshkan Ziibiing’s 2016 Clan Gathering art table features a selection of diverse perspectives showing the rich expressions that dodemiwan resurgence invokes.
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