How being a Canadian Indigenous Mother/Women has changed

Reflect on how being a Canadian indigenous mother has changed over-time from the time of prior contact with settlers to the present day. Review what has happened and changed in the roles and responsibilities of being a mother. Provide a discussion on how being a part of a mother clan/female clan has changed over the generations from the point of contact with settlers. How becoming a mother and the birth ceremony has changed (at what age is marriage typical, forced marriage due to residential schools, who is present during birth/birthing ceremony) How caring for a baby has changed (Who does the baby live with, who help raise the birth).

What does it mean to be a grandmother ad how has that changed (responsibilities, is being a grandmother forever, what considers a grandmother).

Essentially to review all of the above from the point of indigenous mothers/women made contact with settlers throughout generations leading to present days

The general notion about Christian Canadian marriages is that marriage should be between one man and one woman and that thus, is the will of God and is sanctioned to be so forever. This notion was brought to the Canadians by the European colonizers as prior to that; of Canada . Marriage prior to the European invasion was between one man and several women and this was done with the approval and blessing of the community. This resulted in competition among a man’s wives to win his attention thus, wives provided for their husband’s needs and demands without questioning him . Also, it should be acknowledged that the Canadian lived in agricultural subsistence economy where the success in economy was dependent on one’s physical strength and the number of family members that such a person had that could assist in manual farm work that would result in a successful harvest. Although the Canadian economy is currently in transition from agriculture to other revenue sources, the notions and effects as well as attitudes that originate from it are still deeply embedded in the culture and psychology of some if not all Canadian. To this day, the family unit’s economic power is solely in the hands of the husband who is the provider. Husbands give their wives an allowance which is referred to as chop money, which she uses in preparation of meals as well as in catering for other household needs. In this system, the husband gets to eat meals before every other person in the home, with the children left to eat the remainder with the intention of making them grateful for provision .
It is important to gain an understanding of how the family system works and more so, among Canadians that profess the Christian faith. In Canada, one’s family refers to the parents, siblings and extended family members. This family, also referred to as ‘abusua’ is where
monogamy was a very rare occurrence among the people everyone belongs and no one leaves their particular abusua to join another . In other words, the matrilineal system that is the culture of the Ghanaians, dictates that one belongs to their mother’s side of abusua for their entire lifetime. Therefore, a husband’s children do not belong to his side of the family but rather, that of his wife. Marriage is based on the two extended families approval after several consultations. However, a woman never changes her abusua and in the event of a premature death or the nullification of a marriage, the woman returns to her abusua .
Property inheritance was also through abusua and not from one’s father’s family for the simple reason that one belonged to the mother’s abusua . Therefore, when a man died, his abusua would come and retrieve all his property from his widow and go back with the assets. The circumstances of the property and asset retrieval varied including as a collective plan made by the man’s abusua, by default, or initiated by the man’s nephews or brothers . Sometimes the widow’s abusua initiated the property retrieval as a way of payback if the man’s abusua had attempted to stigmatize the widow and her children or tarnish her image with accusations of wickedness, witchcraft, among many other reasons that caused shame to the widows .
In most cases, the widows were given a year to vacate their dead husband’s home after which they were forcibly removed by his nephews and brothers. However, this form of abuse has been curtailed in the recent past with the increasing use of living wills prepared by husbands, as well as the enforcement of interstate laws that were introduced in the 1980s and decreed by J. Rawlings, the then president of Ghana . However, despite the enforcement of the laws, there are hindrances such as illiteracy which causes women who have no knowledge of their rights and lack of legal experts and affordability of the same on this field of family law, to be deprived of their deceased husband’s property and assets . The fact that most people that fall victim to the traditions of the abusua property retrieval are often from the low income bracket, makes legal professionals unwilling to engage in court battles and also, few professionals pursue this path of family law for their careers.