I have taught in the Women and Gender Studies Program at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2013. I have the pleasure of teaching an Introduction to Women and Gender Studies course every year, as well as other courses in my areas of interest and specialization, including: Women and Environmental (In) justice; Women and Social Justice; Gender and Colonial Legacies; and Feminism and Reproductive Justice.
I received my PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of New Brunswick in 2012.
Prior to joining Laurier, I taught in the Department of Native Studies at St. Thomas University, in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
My research thus far has focused on colonialism and the history of Indigenous-settler relations in Canada, the ways Indian policy has targeted /impacted Indigenous women, and the political and economic interests served.
My first book is entitled An Act of Genocide: Colonialism and the Sterilization of Aboriginal Women (Fernwood Publishing, 2015) and it considers the coerced sterilization of Indigenous women as the practice arose out of the eugenics movement. Through archival research, I begin formally documenting the coerced sterilization of Indigenous women, while seeking to ground the practice within the larger context of colonialism, the oppression of women and the denial of Indigenous sovereignty. I argue that coerced sterilization was one of many policies and practices employed to separate Aboriginal peoples from their lands and resources while reducing the numbers of those to whom the federal government has obligations.
Future research will continue to pursue many of the questions that remain around this practice. I am currently working on a SSHRC funded project entitled “Family Planning and Forced Sterilization of Indigenous Women in Saskatchewan (1970-2015): An Archival Case Study.” This project will generate, based on extensive historical records, a better understanding of the coerced sterilization of Indigenous women in the province of Saskatchewan in modern times. Central to this project is to examine how the formation of family planning policy and practice in Saskatchewan was linked to larger historical, political, economic and social factors as these have intersected in the lives of Indigenous women and informed societal views of and approaches to Indigenous reproduction. This project will employ a historical materialist, critical feminist, and decolonial theoretical perspective centered on Indigenous specificities of experience.
I am also interested in critiquing western notions of feminism and the ways it has participated in/reinforced colonial relations. A recent article entitled “Decolonizing Feminism: From Reproductive Abuse to Reproductive Justice,” published in Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice (2017) asks why reproductive gains have sometimes amounted to reproductive abuse for Indigenous women in Canada. Guided by an intersectional and decolonial approach, it provides a historical material critique of the individualized rights discourse and reformist goals that have tended to underlay feminist struggles in Canada. Future work will continue to explore many of the themes raised in this piece, on what it means to decolonize feminism from a settler perspective.
I was previously involved in the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, a five year Community-University Research Alliances-funded project seeking to produce an accessible history of eugenics in Alberta.
For research opportunities, please contact me directly.
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