Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine

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Univ. of Manitoba Press, 2011 - Social Science - 210 pages
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The process of "digging up medicines" - of rediscovering the stories of the past - serves as a powerful healing force in the decolonization and recovery of Aboriginal communities. In "Life Stages and Native Women, "Kim Anderson shares the teachings of fourteen elders from the Canadian prairies and Ontario to illustrate how different life stages were experienced by Metis, Cree, and Anishinaabe girls and women during the mid-twentieth century. These elders relate stories about their own lives, the experiences of girls and women of their childhood communities, and customs related to pregnancy, birth, post-natal care, infant and child care, puberty rites, gender and age-specific work roles, the distinct roles of post-menopausal women, and women's roles in managing death. Through these teachings, we learn how evolving responsibilities from infancy to adulthood shaped women's identities and place within Indigenous society, and were integral to the health and well-being of their communities. By understanding how healthy communities were created in the past, Anderson explains how this traditional knowledge can be applied toward rebuilding healthy Indigenous communities today.
 

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Contents

Introduction Digging Up the Medicines
3
Chapter 1 Weaving the Stories
15
Chapter 2 People and Places
27
From Conception to Walking
38
Childhood and Youth
65
The Womens Circle
97
Chapter 6 Grandmothers and Elders
126
Building on the Strengths of the Pastto Take Us into the Future
161
Notes
180
Bibliography
199
Index
207
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About the author (2011)

Kim Anderson is a Cree/Métis educator. She is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford, and is the author of A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood, and is the co-editor, with Bonita Lawrence, of Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival.

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