What is Indigenous Feminism?

by Silvia Oakland

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests. Throughout the recent decades, feminism has become increasingly popular in our vocabulary.

But within feminism, there are some key points that should be noted.

Feminism cannot make full headway in gaining equal rights for women without intersectionality, which focuses on combining feminism with economic equality, racial equality and religious equality.

Indigenous feminism takes the idea of intersectionality and looks at decolonization, indigenous sovereignty and human rights for Indigenous women and their families.

So, what makes indigenous feminism so different from ordinary feminism other than it has some specifics toward Indigenous women? That’s where Indigenous feminism becomes interesting and really important to understand.

In an article written by Jihan Gearon, she talks about how Indigenous feminism has been used as a theory or opinion but has yet to be put into action. Gearon calls out feminists alike in asking for their support to put Indigenous feminism into motion. The culture white Americans have built allows for our society to be run and upheld by the patriarchy, a starch difference between how Indigenous culture where there is a high emphasis on matriarchal society.

One quote that stuck with me as I continued reading Gearon’s article says, “Our cultures have survived in large part due to the strength of Indigenous women, and it is women who continue to lead today, despite not receiving credit or support. However, we need to face it: the respect we hold for our grandmothers and matriarchs, and their roles in our culture, are not reflected in mainstream society.”

Maria Pearson was one of these women who was a matriarch, a woman who had a family, kept true to her traditions and fought for those within and outside of her community.

And as Women’s History Month begins it’s important now more than ever to continue our education about ways we can support other women, specifically the women of color in the world.

To learn more about ways you can help support Indigenous feminism, you can visit the links listed below.


Silvia Oakland is the Producer/Writer for Simplex Stories. Originally from Hawkeye, IA, she has around five years of experience as a multimedia journalist. Feel free to reach her at

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