This week, we return to the intersection of feminism and indigenous experience. Jocelyn Formsma describes her movement from being a person who “never thought that I was or could be a feminist” to seeing “Indigenous feminism is where I find myself able to connect and commit to action.”
MY JOURNEY TO INDIGENOUS FEMINISM by Jocelyn Formsma (pp. 149-152).
p. 149 – “It never occurred to me that a feminist could be a man, or happy, or poor or an Indigenous person.” I don’t think it’s news to anyone reading this blog that people often write themselves off as feminists based on certain pre-conceptions of what being a feminist means. I’m particularly intrigued by the assumption Formsma had that someone who identifies as a feminist couldn’t be happy. I get that feminism is often read as a white, middle-class movement, and for obvious reasons tends to be dominated by women. However, I do wonder how feminism became association with non-happiness? Perhaps just the sloppy equation of anger with “unhappiness”?
p.150 – “I began to realize that the values instilled within me from a young age were not automatically the broader social truth.” So I grew up in a family where I sort of took for granted that my family values weren’t the broader social truth — at least from the age of about seven or eight. But it’s still frustrating when you realize that certain forms of equal treatment and respect you take for granted in your own circles don’t automatically extend in the outside world. Like, for example, the assumption that children’s voices were worth listening to on equal terms with adults.
p. 151 – “While feminists are concerned with the situation of women, Indigenous feminists are concerned with the situation of an entire community.” In comments on last week’s installment of the live-blogging series, we talked quite a bit about the relative merits of big-tent feminism versus more specific strains of feminist theory and activism. Formsma. at least, found her way to feminist theory and activism through one of those specific strains — Indigenous feminism — which she sees as inhabiting that space where women’s issues and the issues of an entire community meet.
Join me next week for a conversation between Krysta Williams and Ashling Ligate on “deconstructing dialogue in feminist education” (153-164).