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Native Feminists: Without Apology

April 28, 2006

During this past semester, a diverse range of leading Native scholars and activists convened for an important conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The purpose of the conference was to explore the development of Native feminist thought in the United States and Canada.

Because relatively little has been published by Native women on feminist theory, the scholarly and activist public tends to over-simplify Native women activists' theories about feminism, the struggle against sexism both within Native communities and the society at large, and the importance of working in coalition with non-Native women.

This seminar provided a groundbreaking opportunity for indigenous women to develop indigenous feminist theory and politics, and centered around questions such as: What is specific about indigenous articulations of feminism? How do these articulations vary among indigenous communities?; Many indigenous nations have instituted gender-discriminatory policies in the name of "tradition." What do pro-sovereignty, indigenous feminists interventions into these policies look like?; How can critiques of gender oppression and violence be made central to anti-colonial, pro-sovereignty analysis and politics?

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