Since the 2015 release of the report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, new Indigenous policies have been enacted in universities and a variety of interconnecting Indigenous senior administrative roles have been created. Many of these newly created roles have been filled by Indigenous women. But what does it mean for Indigenous women to be recruited to Indigenize Western institutions that have not undergone introspective, structural change?
Informed by her own experiences and the stories of other Indigenous women working in senior administrative roles in Canadian universities, Candace Brunette-Debassige explores the triple-binding position Indigenous women often find themselves trapped in when trying to implement reconciliation in institutions that remain colonial, Eurocentric, and male-dominated. The author considers too the gendered, emotional labour Indigenous women are tasked with when universities rush to Indigenize without the necessary preparatory work of decolonization.
Drawing on an Indigenous feminist decolonial theoretical lens and positioning Indigenous story as theory, Brunette-Debassige illustrates how Indigenous women can and do preserve and enact their agency through resistance, and help lead deeper transformative changes in Canadian universities. Ultimately, her work provides a model for how reconciliation and Indigenization can be done at an institutional level.