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British Columbia Native Women's Society

The British Columbia Native Women's Society (BCNWS) was an organization formed in 1968, by eight Indigenous women from Kamloops and Vancouver.[1] The BCNWS formed as a response to the Department of Indian Affairs withdrawing support for Indigenous womens' Homemaker Clubs. The group's actions were part of a wider Indigenous women's movement in the 20th century and a longer history of Indigenous women's activism and political work. Its actions focused on the unique concerns of women and children who were "status and non-status, Métis, urban," in addition to women outside of BC who were not represented by existing organizations.[2] BCNWS incorporated second-wave feminist ideas but also challenged these mainstream norms and expectations.

Early history

Before 1968

Homemaker Clubs and Indian Affairs

The Department of Indian Affairs established Homemaker Clubs to improve what they saw as issues pertaining to hygiene and domestic problems. With funding from DIA courses were offered to teach women sewing, childcare and other skills informed by a western ideal of domesticity. These clubs were often underfunded and over represented in the Indian Affairs newspaper.[3]

1968 formation

Due to ongoing frustrations with the lack of financial and political support from the Department of Indian Affairs, Indigenous women formed two independent organizations that could be more explicitly political. They formed BC Indian Homemakers' Association and the BC Native Women's Society. Paul Creek Women's Club president Mildred Gottfriedson was a leading figure in the organization's founding.[4]

Indigenous activism and feminism

Second-wave feminism


Intersectional Indigenous Feminism

[Possibly talk about dual issues of colonialism and patriarchy, ex. UBCIC conflict]

Political events and social change

Child welfare


Indian Act

Indigenous Womens' Status

Constitutional Reform



  1. Nickel, Sarah A. (Fall 2017). "'I Am Not a Women's Libber Although Sometimes I Sound Like One': Indigenous Feminism and Politicized Motherhood". American Indian Quarterly. 41: 299–335.
  2. Nickel. : 307. Cite journal requires |journal= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. Nickel. : some page around 303 - 304 maybe. Cite journal requires |journal= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. Nickel. : 306. Cite journal requires |journal= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)