Indigenous scholar at UWindsor thrilled all 5 hires were female
'We can simply be a diverse group of Indigenous women'
All five of the Indigenous Scholars hired one year ago by the University of Windsor are women — a trend which professor Ashley Glassburn says bucks the norm.
"'It's important to be part of a cohort that's all women," said Glassburn, who specializes in women and gender studies. "To have five women, it's really exciting. We can simply be a diverse group of Indigenous women."
Glassburn said universities and governments, including tribal governments, have been dominated by men.
"There's been a resurgence of interest in Indigenous women's studies and feminism in the last few years," she said. "When we talk about Indigenous societies, we talk in a blanketed term — used to mark people as not being human."
According to Glassburn, the position of women in those societies is very diverse.
"I'm fortunate that my department is in tune to Indigenous women's issues in Canada," said Glassburn. "I don't feel like I'm the lone speaker."
Glassburn said she focuses her teaching on how political alignments are often misunderstood.
"For instance, eco-feminists often imagine themselves closely aligned with Indigenous feminism," said Glassburn. "But the way they go about it often ignores Indigenous sovereignty."
Glassburn's family is from Indiana, but she grew up back and forth between Indiana and Virginia, as a member of the Miami tribe.
"Miami who grew up in Indiana are more aware of the negative aspects of being racialized in a colonial structure," said Glassburn. "Some who grew up Miami in Indiana don't want to associate. Growing up in Virginia I didn't grow up with the burden of those beliefs."
Glassburn said the stories told about Indigenous people shape not only how non-Indigenous people see themselves, but also how Indigenous people see themselves.
"For a long time I identified as Miami-Indian but I would not identify as Indigenous," said Glassburn, whose research helps reclaim historical narratives.
Glassburn was a 2017 Nany Weiss Malkiel scholar for racial justice and designs language programming and research support for the Miami Nation of Indiana.
This interview, which aired on the CBC's Windsor Morning, is the fourth in a series about the five Indigenous scholars hired last year by the University of Windsor.