Thesis Examination - MA Student Saima Siddiqui

Fri. Oct. 26 10:00 AM - Fri. Oct. 26 12:00 PM
Location: 1RC028 (Graduate Studies Boardroom, First Floor Richardson College)

Decolonizing Urban Aboriginal Self-government Issues in Canada: A postcolonial analysis on non-profit Aboriginal social service sector in Winnipeg using Indigenous approaches to service delivery

My thesis has decolonized the topic of Aboriginal self-government in the context of the urban Aboriginal social service sector in Canada. A key aspect of my work is to examine colonial and neoliberal impacts on non-profit Aboriginal organizations that are selfgoverning with an Indigenous model.

To illustrate these impacts, I have adopted a post-colonial perspective on Indigenous concerns in urban Aboriginal self-governance in the field of social service delivery by conducting in-depth interviews with selected non-profit Aboriginal organizations in Winnipeg. My findings indicate that urban Aboriginal self-government is mostly understood in terms of self-administration. Over the years, in urban areas, social service delivery has been maneuvered via multilevel partnerships between Aboriginal and nonAboriginal public, private, and non-profit sectors. Next, more traditional Aboriginal organizations have had Indigenous institutional governing structures and holistic and nonhierarchal workplace management cultures. The organizations’ programs and services generally reflect spiritual and ceremonial practices. At public policy levels, non-profit Aboriginal organizations have addressed urban Aboriginal issues and needs by building networks with other agencies to increase Aboriginal organizational capacity and access to funding resources.

Nonetheless, due to colonial influences, the values, traditions and lived-experiences of Aboriginal people are undervalued and marginalized. More recently, with the introduction of neoliberal restructuring policies, colonial rhetoric has reshaped Aboriginal institutional management culture and service delivery approaches. Consequently, neoliberal policies are increasingly forcing Aboriginal organizations to accept formal policies of privatization and adopt corporate interventions and surveillance strategies.

My study demonstrates that non-profit urban Aboriginal organizations using an Indigenous social service delivery model for self-government pose a powerful anticolonial challenge to colonial and neoliberal agendas.