Date of Award


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Degree Name



Faculty of Law


Haudenosaunee, Haudenosaunee women, Indian Act, Indigenous, Women's sacredness


B. Jacobs


R. Majors



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Since the colonization of Indigenous peoples on this territory, Indigenous women have faced violence, and we continue to face violence not only in political spheres but also at home; at the root of thisis the assumed sovereignty of the Canadian state over Indigenous peoples. Haudenosaunee women have long held a sacredness, a sacredness that has long been recognized by Haudenosaunee communities. Women's sacredness is outlined in our Creation Story and our Great Law of Peace. The Creation Story tells us how we interact with each other and all spiritual creation. Our Great Law of Peace is our governing law that combines all six nations, the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and the Tuscarora, in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Women play a central role in both the Creation Story and the Great Law of Peace, which confirms the importance of women within traditional Haudenosaunee communities; the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery has damaged that traditional knowledge and customs.

The impacts of the Indian Act, disenfranchisement of Haudenosaunee women, and the residential school systems are tools that have tried to erase the "Indian problem" in Canada. This thesis focuses on how attacking Haudenosaunee women, and family structure has had negative impacts through our history and continues on. Along with the negative consequences, this research also highlights the resilience of Haudenosaunee women providing examples of how Haudenosaunee women have remained firm in their sacredness by fulling the roles that Creator intended for them and that they continue to provide Kanoronhkwá (love) to their people, homes, and lands.

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