Analysis of Multifaceted Characteristics of Canadian And Indigenous Families from An Intersectionality Point of View
The indigenous Canadian families are highly diverse, and thus, the First National community can be termed as one of the most prominent families (Fox, 2001). They react and adapt to evolving economic, cultural, environmental, and social context (Kovach, 2010). Statistically, approximately one million people who participated in the census in 2006 identified themselves to originate from indigenous families and presented 4% of the total Canadian population, which includes half a million status and non- status Indians in off-reserves and two hundred thousand First Nation on reserves.
For Centuries, kinship relations and family existed at the heart of personal identity and community organizations. Most family organizations marked a significant cultural distinction from other sociocultural groups in Canada. Community organizations indicated intricate kinship ties that were attributed to frequent village endogamy (Fox, 2001). Therefore, the basic unit of social identity and kin relation was the extended family (Kovach, 2010). The fertile ancestral land was the primary source of life and gave families ways of living, which were based on operation in procuring food and generosity of sharing food, and every individual depended on the group.
The indigenous male made shelters, hunted, fished, and gathered. Residential schools emerged and attempted to disrupt these roles; however, they had to fit in by doing what the female asked them to do (MacDonald, 2007). Women continued with their usual roles of house chores and rearing children. Unlike western European family life, Canadian families developed deeply intertwined relationships among family members, which provided a network of care for their children.
Colonialism, colonial government policies, and integration into the capital economy resulted in significant levels of damage to the families of First Nations people in Canada (Fox, 2001). Initially, life in the First Nation communities emphasized cooperation, generosity in sharing, and generalized reciprocity among kin. These aspects constituted a powerful survival strategy.
In North American residential schools, students were forbidden from speaking their language, interact with members of the opposite sex, or maintain their past cultural traditions. Children studied the bible and learned arithmetic and rudiments of literacy (MacDonald, 2007). The introduction of residential schools brought significant changes in the livelihood of such families
The agricultural training was majorly offered to boys whose roles were to raise livestock and toil in the fields. The girls were obligated to work at domestic chores training in preparation for dependent wifehood (Newman, 2016). The prime intent of this form of education was to instill bodily shame and Christian values. It was intended for the girls to view the sinful nature of sexuality and eradicate the traditional gender roles.
Since ancient times, the lives of women and girls are viewed as intersecting sites of violence not only because of gender but also based on social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, and cultural heritage. In these times, therefore, frontier marriage relationships were characterized by contradiction and ambiguity. The First Nation women were condemned for sexual behaviors alleged to be adulterous and promiscuous. The introduction of interracial marriages forced wives to be dependent on foreign wives and alienated their traditional cultural kin (Newman, 2016). The conversion into Catholicism and the introduction of baptism as a new social order disrupted the traditional pattern of the society. New religious authority introduced punishment, which was as a result of sacred and social transgression.
The indigenous family experienced a secure physical and emotional connections that result from interaction among members of the family. However, the colonial schooling limited contacts between children and parents and undermined family relationships and assimilated First Nation into mainstream society (Newman, 2016). Former hunters and trappers were hence pushed to waged labor.
Current research reveals that indigenous men are more mobile than other men in Canada. The population of the indigenous men with registered paternity on their children's' birth record is higher than non-indigenous men. These are men who do not live or provide for their children. In the near future, half of the indigenous children's population will grow without fathers' involvement in their family home (Ball, 2009). The absence of indigenous father involvement is mirrored in the absence of policies that would encourage participation.
Over the years, numerous disparities between these indigenous families with regards to revenue employment rates, health status, and educational attainment have emerged (Newman, 2016). These disparities, in conjunction with other factors related to systemic racism, rapture in traditions, colonialism, and unequal access to power and resources, are directly related to violence against aboriginal families, especially young women, and girls.
Ways in Which the Rapid Increase in Transnational Mobility Has Shaped the Patterns and Practices of Families in Canada.
Transnational families are not a new phenomenon in most developed countries. Immigration and migration policies have backed up the renewed proliferation of a ruptured family arrangement (Fox, 2001). Canada is traditionally known to receive immigrants from other states. The transnational family practices in Canada are majorly related to the nineteenth-century Chinese workers' migration and the recent labor workers' migration from the third world countries (Guo, 2013). These are workers who entered Canada through temporary working programs such as the Live-in Caregiver program and the Seasonal Agricultural Workers' program (Guo, 2013). The state policies have been placed to restrict family reunification and permanent settlement hence affecting the patterns and practices of the families.
From ancient times, the family has been known as a primary social institution that has the mandate to secure livelihood, meet individual needs, value transmission, and lead to identity formation. It is also a series of relationships or a network of people joined together by a dogma of common kinship. An increase in transnational mobility has resulted in major changes in the practice and patterns in families in Canada since the geographical location does not merely define its boundaries; instead, it is defined through streams of activity and relationship structure. The process of meeting the livelihood and fulfilling needs has become more challenging.
The structure of the family cannot be dissolved by transnational mobility; however, the mobility challenges and redefines the already defined codes that give meaning or shape the family. During mobility, the families undergo change since individual members pursue personal and group needs within a grammatically different environment and context (Soong et al., 2018). Physical relocation and displacement disrupt the ordered discursive and material patterns of the family. These individuals find themselves consequently surrounded by varied influences within a political, economic, social, and cultural context.
Complex factors experienced by Canadian migrates and immigrates under policies contribute to the dispersion of families across the globe. Most women experience separation from their children and argue that the countries immigration policies are the main contributor to the systemic development of transnational family practices, arrangements, and patterns. Women are forced to deal with challenges that arise from post-reunification, social reproduction dispersal, and unpredicted duration of separation.
Programs have been expanded due to the shortage of labor markets in primary extractive industries and the agricultural industries. New categories of business were created to encourage foreign capital investment, and in the process, new families arose. These families are called astronaut families who are attributed to unintended consequences of migration and immigration policies.
Years after the government approved the Immigration Act of 1978, a new Act of Immigration and Refugee Protection, was amended and implemented in 2002. The earlier trend that focused on harmonization with the U.S immigration policy was consolidated. This Act of 2002 instituted long time changes in refugees' inadmissibility, determination, and definition of family (Soong et al., 2018). Although this Act also made immigration into the country easier through reunification provisions, it also limited the rate of family establishment. The Act narrowed the standards for dependent children, prevented people from acquiring social assistance from potential relatives' sponsors, and eliminated fiancees form of recognition.
Transnational mobility has also resulted in spatial rapture in social relations, especially the emotional bond between children and their parents. The amount of care necessary to maintain this bond across the family has been downplayed resulting to huge invisible emotional and social costs, hence leading to a compulsory change in options, power modes of negotiation and autonomy for members of the family
Transnational families' variations are attributed to factors such as the geographical location of different families and their respective immigration status, circumstances that frame their migratory movement, and challenges faced at the borders of a receiver country. New practices have thus set in, whereby the mobility has produced normative adjustments in families' structure of authority, power, and each individual's social obligation (Guo & Maitra 2017). Comparative analysis reveals that transnational families also exhibit variations whose basis are associated with factors such as race, rural or urban background, class, ethnicity, and race.
The mobility has resulted in the creation of new role model fathers who are described to shift gender roles. The new roles are pathways intended to reconstruct circles of care at community levels (Ball, 2009). Most of these roles are learned from mothers since most fathers account for having been nurtured primarily or exclusively by their mothers. New roles where fathers volunteer following direct instruction from their other family members, especially their partners on what to do with their young children, have emerged.
In Canada, indigenous men record the highest rate of homelessness, mobility, and unemployment hence poverty. Most, therefore, identify poverty as the main barrier to fathering and the general state of the family wellbeing (Ball, 2009). Poverty is, consequently, attributed to government interventions and policies. These policies have led to socioeconomic exclusion, which interacts with other factors resulting in a high record of suicides, low self-worth, and physical and mental illness. The seven generations of intervention from the colonial government policies were the major factors that disrupted the orderly culture of the First family (Guo, 2013). Parents, especially men, were sent in residential schools, and most of those who participated rarely had exposure to any variable forms of father role models.
Due to separation, the interacting effect of children and fathers, the psychological and social process that enables fathers to develop empathy for the child and the child's mother and the personal experiences of an emotional nurturing family, readiness to participate in different child nurturing programs during the fatherhood journey was lost (Ball, 2009). Barriers to paternal registration have also develop...
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