Settler matchmaking: Jenna Dayl Ives, Canadian Matchmakers: How Early 1900s Colonial Racist Policies United Indigenous Women and Chinese Bachelors on the Prairies. MA dissertation, University of Regina, 2021


Abstract: Canadian government legislation implemented policies in the early 1900s that facilitated inter-racial marriages between Indigenous women and Chinese bachelors. Foreign workers were over-recruited from China, to migrate to Canada, to support the development of the railway system. To deal with this “perceived” over-population Canada began implementing racist policies that included intentional deterring of Chinese men from bringing their families with them to Canada. My research focuses on the consequences of these racist policies designed to keep Canada a white, British nation. This narrative inquiry qualitative research includes two participants’ who are descendants of these marriages. Using an Indigenous feminist and intersectional theoretical lens, my research fostered a safe space for these two participants’ lived experiences to be told. Thus, further uncovering aspects of our Canadian Prairie history, and backing their ancestral histories up with the limited available scholarly recognized works. The project used a de-colonial approach in the way that the direction of the research process was led by the participants’, which unveiled how systemic racism did, and continues to, impact Indigenous Peoples’ nationwide, specifically here in the Prairies. I honoured the lived experiences of these participants’ by using research methods and theories that are based on reciprocity, relationships and respect. This process includes how my own story, shared throughout the paper, inevitably impacts the way our conversations evolved and the conclusions I have drawn. To ethically and respectfully ensure the use of the stories heard throughout this thesis, the participants’ were given the opportunity to review and approve the direct quotes included completing the reciprocal research conversational consent. Three themes emerged from the participant stories. First, our historical account of colonialism needs to be accurate, and the only way to ensure that is to recount the stories of those affected. Second, the traditional Indigenous knowledge system(s) and its teachings about women’s roles as integral to the well-being of communities was systematically erased, with consequences to Indigenous Peoples’ as a whole. Third, those teachings, roles and stories are a pathway to restoring identities and belonging to all who live on Turtle Island.

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