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Thesis Defence: Sharing Métis Women’s Stories about Moon Time and Colonial Body Shame through Visiting and Berry Picking in Buttertown, Alberta
June 21 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Hanna M. Paul, supervised by Dr. Fiona P. McDonald and Dr. Gabrielle Legault, will defend their thesis titled “Sharing Métis Women’s Stories about Moon Time and Colonial Body Shame through Visiting and Berry Picking in Buttertown, Alberta” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies – Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity Theme.
An abstract for Hanna M. Paul’s thesis is included below.
Indigenous women’s bodies have been the subject of extractive study through western scholarship, yet Métis women’s bodies and knowledge around experiences with Métis moon time (menstruation) has received little to no attention. I approach my Master’s thesis through the weaving of emergent Indigenous feminist theory, decolonial theory and methods, and Métis methodologies. My project focuses upon: (1) the historical legacy of western menstrual teachings and its effect on Indigenous women and youth’s body images; (2) how Métis teachings can create space for knowing, healing, and identity in my community; and (3) how Métis women’s teachings and bodily connection can help reimagine and dream into existence self-image futurisms for Buttertown, Alberta. Current literature only addresses how colonial and patriarchal concepts of menstruation affect Métis women and young girls (Baldy 2017). Beyond the literature, there is no specific research within Métis communities, specifically Buttertown, near Fort Vermilion, Alberta, which stems from internalized patriarchal frameworks and principles that affect the well-being of women and girls during this monthly ceremony. This project begins with my own experience and with the Métis community of Buttertown. I use autoethnography, Métis storying, Métis oral history, Métis historical archives, and most importantly the social practice of visiting (Flaminio et al. 2020; Gaudet 2018). My metaphoric methodology of saskatoon berry picking grounds my research in Buttertown and parallels my Indigenous research approach to the berry picking process. Through this project, I gain new insights into how reconnection and re-emergence of Métis moon time teachings links to healing and Indigenous concepts of well-being (Gaudet & Caron-Bourbonnais 2015; Zinga & Styres 2013).