University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Location of Thesis Examination

Room 4185 Support Services Building

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Sociology

Supervisor

Dr. Jerry White

Abstract

Worldwide, First Nations women are among the most vulnerable to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV); and yet, their lived experiences of violence are lacking in the literature. Using Photovoice methodology and a community-based, participatory action approach, this project addresses multiple questions pertaining to First Nations mothers’ experiences of IPV, including: What are the health and social consequences of IPV and how do the social determinants of Aboriginal peoples’ health shape the capacities of women survivors to manage and overcome IPV? Drawing on decolonization theory, a social determinants of Aboriginal peoples’ health framework, and aspects of feminist theory, this project was designed to empower First Nations mothers to work toward a vision of quality care in Kettle & Stony Point First Nation; specifically, a system of health care that better meets the needs of IPV-affected community members. With the foundation provided by cultural principles and resources, such as spirituality and an ethic of responsibility, women survivors managed the severest of IPV experiences and are free of violence, and many of them thriving. This project’s process and outcomes point directly to resilience, or resistance to colonial conditions that generate and support ill health. Its main recommendation is that intervention with respect to IPV and its correlates restore and support community strengths and re-position resilient women in the centre of renewal. The women survivors who participated in this project effectively managed marginalization. And as grandmothers and mothers, they are invested in and dedicated to the health of our First Nations communities.