I interviewed Kathy Mallett in Winnipeg. It was there that she grew up, but she first became active in the late 1970s while living in Thomposn, in northern Manitoba — at that time she worked mostly with other indigenous women against racism in schools and against sexism and racism in The Indian Act. When she returned to Winnipeg, she stayed active on these issues and more. For awhile, she was the president of the Aboriginal Student Association at the University of Manitoba and was very involved in opposing government cuts to indigenous education. The bulk of the material from her interview that is used in Chapter 3 of Resisting the State: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists (which also features material from Roger Obonsawin) is about the period in the early 1980s when she was a central organizer in the movement against the attacks on indigenous families by the Winnipeg Children’s Aid Society. She was later involved in founding a number of organizations in the Winnipeg Native community and worked extensively with women in prison, and in the 1990s she won a term on the Winnipeg school board — one of very few indigenous people ever to do so.
Material from Mallett on this site:
- One of the high points of the intense struggle by indigenous people, mostly women, in Winnipeg against the Children’s Aid Society in the early 1980s was a confrontation at the organization’s annual general meeting in 1983. Mallett talks about that moment of the struggle in this audio clip.
- In this audio clip, Mallett talks about about her experience a few years after that running for and then serving on the local school board — the first Native woman in the century of the board’s existence to hold that position.