‘Women are supposed to be the leaders’: intersections of gender, race and colonisation in HIV prevention with Indigenous young people
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Focusing on gender, race and colonialism, this paper foregrounds the voices of Indigenous young people, their histories of oppression, their legacies of resistance and the continuing strengths rooted in Indigenous peoples, their cultures and their communities. Exploring the relationship between gender and colonialism, the paper speaks to the lived realities of young people from Indigenous communities across Canada. Over 85 young people participated in six different Indigenous community workshops to create artistic pieces that explored the connections between HIV, individual risk and structural inequalities. In the course of the research, Indigenous young people, and young Indigenous women in particular, talked about how gender intersects with race and colonisation to create experiences that are, at times, especially difficult for them. In this paper, young people discuss the ways in which colonialism has demeaned women's roles and degraded women's sexuality, and how continuing cultural erasure and assimilationist policies impact on their lives and on their bodies.
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