Disempowerment of Native women specifically was a primary goal of the colonizers, with the intent of destabilizing and, ultimately, exerting colonial dominance over each indigenous nation. For example, among the Cherokee, a traditionally matriarchal society, the British decreased the power of women by ‘educating’ Cherokee males in European ways, encouraging marriage to non-Native women, and privileging mixed-blood male offspring in nation-to-nation negotiations. During the 1970’s, the Indian Health Service (IHS) oversaw the nonconsensual sterilization of approximately 40% of Native women of childbearing age. More recently, Native women’s anecdotal reports indicate that Medicare has denied funding for the removal of Norplant contraceptive devices, despite their high risk for the deleterious side effects in women with diabetes. The cumulative effects of these injustices have been characterized as a ‘soul wound’ among Native peoples and constitute considerable ‘historical trauma.’

Karina Walters, Reconceptualizing Native Women’s Health: An “Indigenist” Stress-Coping Model (via homininae)

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