21st Century

Colonial practices have affected Indigneous girls for centuries–and continue to influence  their lives today. In residential schools,  white settlers tried to impose white, European, and Christian gender roles on Indigenous communities. They also imposed binary notions, such as white/others and “civilized” and /”primitive” on Indigenous society. 

Today their lives are shaped by things, such as treaty rights, colonial gender policies, and cultural and territorial decolonization. For example, in Canada, Indigenous girls suffered long-term discriminatory treatments, including the Indian Act and residential schools, and these issues are finally receiving some attention. However, compared with settler girls who frequently appear in the public eye, Indigenous girls and their experiences are not often discussed. In face of systemic racialized colonialism, Indigenous girls were constantly seen as “others” who are excluded from the Western notions of girlhood girlhood. Nowadays, Indigenous girls also have to fight against romanticization or representations that portray them as drunk, passive, or foreign. After centuries of colonization, oppression, and forced assimilation, many Indigenous girls struggle to reconnect with values and cultural practices of Indigenous communities. Their rejection of being victimized or misrepresented shapes Indigenous girlhood today.

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