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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Inninew Esquew nina [I am a Cree Woman]: Decolonizing Feminist Theories by Reclaiming and Interpreting the Traditional Role of the Omushkegowuk (Swampy Cree) Women

Jacqueline R. Hookimaw-Witt.

Taking the resistence to the destruction of ancestral lands by diamond exploration as a basis, this paper discusses how the traditional role of Cree women is their basis of social, economic, political and spiritual power. In this context the term 'equality' is defined despite the different gender roles. The conclusion is that Cree women have to reclaim their traditional positions in their society rather than following western feminist theory in order to liberate themselves from restrictions 'modern' society put on them. The author, an Omushkegowuk (Swampy Cree) herself, includes oral tradition, knowledge passed on to her by her elders, as the basis for her academic presentation. A Medicine Wheel model is used to explain and interpret Cree world view and concepts. The implications on teaching are that Cree women have to be taught Cree context in the Cree way in order to reclaim their place in society and contribute to global education in their own way.


Jacqueline R. Hookimaw-Witt  (Canada)
doctoral student (PhD)
Sociology in Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)

Omushkegowuk (Swampy Cree), born in 1965. Completed M.A. at Trent University on issues of land ownership and treaty interpretations. Presently enrolled in a PhD Program at OISE/ University of Toronto in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education. First language is Cree.

  • Decolonizing feminist theories
  • Traditional Cree women's roles
  • Holistic learning
  • Responsibilities of women to sustain life and the planet

(30 min Conference Paper, English)