AU researcher studies the impact of sexual violation on Indigenous women
Dr. Josie Auger sees the lingering impact of sexual violation and loss on Indigenous women in her community and beyond.
“If you cannot have self-determination over your life and if you cannot determine your sexual experiences, that is ultimately going to impact your life in so many different ways,” says Auger, Athabasca University (AU) researcher and professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Auger, a former councillor with the Bigstone Cree Nation, worked with 11 women in and around her home community of Athabasca, Alta., to hear about their experiences and healing journeys. Her own mother died by violence in 1988.
“Historical trauma, multi-generational trauma, inter-generational trauma—these aren’t things that we can just get over. The invasion of sexual boundaries affects a person across their lifespan,” she says.
Auger advocates using Indigenous research methodology or “wisdom-seeking” to approach Indigenous research in a culturally sensitive way. “How can a westerner, a settler, be able to say that this is how research should be done in an Indigenous way, when there’s no knowledge about these Indigenous protocols or our medicines, our herbs, our ceremonies and our procedures?”
Read more about Auger and her research.