Theorizing Indigeneity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism

Authored by: Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner , Kyle Whyte

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415711234
eBook ISBN: 9781315884424
Adobe ISBN:


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In 1924, Virginia passed the Racial Integrity Act. The act enforced the one-drop rule, which made it so that someone was either white or colored, and one drop of non-white meant someone was colored. The only exception to the one-drop rule occurred in cases where white people claimed to be descendants of any Indigenous women, which included Pocahontas. While white people who claimed an often-fictional Indigenous great-grandmother were classified as white, actual Indigenous people were homogenized as “colored,” their Indigenous ancestry omitted from public records (Tuck and Yang 2012: 10). In Canada until 1985, “section 12(l)(b) of the Indian Act discriminated against Indian women by stripping them and their descendants of their Indian status if they married a man without Indian status” (Lawrence 2003). In Aotearoa/New Zealand, though Māori women traditionally had the responsibility of serving as speakers for their whanau, hapu, and iwi (families and communities), British settlers negotiated the Treaty of Waitangi solely with Māori men. And later, the Native Land Act of 1909 was a deliberate attempt by settlers to destroy the whanau and hapu kinship structures and replace them with nuclear, patriarchal family and community structures (Mikaere 1994).

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