Desbiens, C. (2007). Speaking the land : exploring women’s historical geographies in Northern Quebec. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien, 51(3), 360-372.
This review article explores the significance of studying the historical geographies of Aboriginal women in Northern Québec and presents potential research avenues. The article’s premise is that we cannot understand the historic and contemporary geographies of subsistence economies without more research about the roles that women played in them. Related to this issue is a broader reflection on how geographies of the past are reconstructed by historical geographers, both from an epistemological and methodological point of view. As a discipline, historical geography has been chiefly dedicated to the study of the encounter of migrant Europeans with new world lands and societies, with the result that Aboriginal and women’s geographies have commanded less attention. This gap in knowledge should be addressed by emerging researchers. Taking an interdisciplinary approach and moving from the general to the particular, my inquiry evolves in three parts. First, I identify some key debates that are pertinent to a study of gender and Aboriginal women in a colonial context. Second, I review the existing ethnographic literature on Cree women in Eastern Canada and assess insights about their role in subsistence economies. Third, I outline specific avenues that help frame a research programme to study the historical geographies—by which I understand the places, placing, and place‐making—of Aboriginal women in Northern Québec.