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Hybrid identities in Canada's Red River Colony

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Scholarship on Canada's Métis women has been informed largely by their central economic and reproductive roles in the British fur trade in North America. This article moves beyond these representations and focuses on Victorian discourses of race, class, gender and sexuality in a re-conceptualization of women's lives and experiences in territory. The article's primary aim is to evaluate the concept of female agency in Canada's Red River Colony (now Winnipeg, Manitoba) in 1850 and 1863. I use case studies of two unrelated lawsuits, Foss v. Pelly and The Queen v. Corbett, involving two differently situated Métis women. My central argument is that British attempts to translate English law over colonized space provided the ‘Other’ with a space of resistance and created hybrid socio-legal and cultural forms. My approach questions Western assumptions about discrete colonizer/colonized identities and power relations in those identities, maps the impact of law on social and cultural change in the fur trade and asks whether the Red River Colony was a hybrid place.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Earth Sciences and Geography Department, School of Physical and Geographical Sciences, University of Keele, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG UK ( ), Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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