Elected female leaders in the First Nations communities in Canada take centre stage
A quiet revolution is occurring in Canada's First Nations communities, with changes taking place on social, political, and economic fronts and a significant redistribution of power. Changes to the Indian Act in 1951 paved the way for women to become officially involved in reserve politics, and with governments responding to the demand of First Nations for self-government, positions once held exclusively by men are now being filled by women.
Beginning with Elsie Knott, the first female chief in Canada, Cora Voyageur presents the lives of sixty-four of the ninety women chiefs who have assumed the traditionally male role of elected First Nations leadership. Using a range of qualitative research strategies, surveys, participant observation, interviews, and discussions with focus groups, Voyageur presents the colonial histories behind the issues that contemporary Aboriginal communities struggle with and delineates the resulting leadership dilemmas for chiefs, while also articulating a story that is unique to First Nations women.
Voyageur asks women chiefs about what inspired them to become leaders, how they've maintained their priorities, and the personal and professional costs and rewards involved in their positions. Firekeepers of the Twenty-First Century is a groundbreaking work that examines the experiences of women as they negotiate multiple roles and navigate the worlds of gender, race, and reserve politics.