Enfranchisement became attractive, in most cases, because the applicants had already made a permanent move away from the reserve and did not intend to return.
Race, Gender, and Self-Representation in Enfranchisement Case Files
Enfranchisement case files illuminate more than economics: they are also valuable sources for the analysis of "Indianness" and "whiteness," permitting investigation of women's strategic self-representation with respect to race, gender, and status.
Correspondence from DIA officials and other Euro-Canadians reflected the dominant assumptions about Aboriginal women in the period, assumptions that were clearly familiar to the women who applied for enfranchisement. In their own correspondence with the DIA, the women engaged carefully and assertively with Euro-Canadian discourses about women, Indianness, competition with whites, and the need for self-support.
Both men and women often mentioned that they planned to make some sort of investment with their enfranchisement money, countering the image of "improvidence" that was a central feature of colonial constructions of Indianness.
every week and wake them up, until I'll get my money, and don't let me wait another [?unreadable] months." Six months later, still without her enfranchisement and payout of band funds, she threatened to keep writing Daly until she received her money: "Mr.
I am a stenographer and quite capable of earning my own living." (57) Another woman, who separated from her husband shortly after their enfranchisement was completed, attempted to obtain her share of the money via the Indian Department.
These women were generally clear about what they wanted, and enfranchisement for them was virtually always about the money that accompanied the change in legal status.
First Nations women's choices about enfranchisement at this time should be seen in the context of their limited employment opportunities, the desire to improve their financial circumstances, and the inaccessibility of band funds.
At the same time, these stories address negative experiences and issues like discrimination that could not be broached at all in enfranchisement correspondence.