Date of Award

Winter 2-1-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Nicole Fermon, Ph.D.


Indigenous people have used cultural practices for centuries in order to resist the systematic forms of oppression that silenced or attempted to erase their cultures after the colonization of these lands. These oppressions even though they exist under democratic forms of government, fail to give recognition to the sovereignty of a culture with thousands of years of sacred wisdom. Women, in order to fight for their cultural heritage use art as a means of resisting oppressive and discriminatory actions towards them and to regain the agency and identity of the indigenous woman that had been colonized by a western-male gaze. Artists such as Wendy Red Star from Crow Country and Cecilia Vicuña from Chile have used their work specifically to challenge oppression, reclaim their female identity and re-write their culture's history. I will finally argue that Native American and Mapuche women use art as a tool of cultural and political resistance against the oppression of indigenous cultures in their respective contemporary political climates. Therefore, it catalyzes social change, by decolonizing their female bodies, reclaiming their indigenous identity and fighting for indigenous sovereignty over their lands.