Upon approaching the ideology: ‘Indigenous Feminism,’ the significance of situating/locating one’s self is highlighted. Indigenous Feminism recognizes that the location of being Indigenous and being a woman intersects in a unique way that the traditional, Western (white), Feminist model neglects to consider. The ‘traditional’ (Western) Feminist movement focuses on issues such as: sexual violence, reproductive rights, and equal pay; this viewpoint is grounded in socio-political rights for women. The framework outlining ‘Indigenous Feminism’ does not appear to be established with the same principles. Expressed by Lynda Gray (p. 130), “Most First Nations women are not worried about ensuring that women have the same rights as men, rather, the focus is on working together on our [Indigenous peoples] collective empowerment and healing journey.” There exists a fundamental theoretical shift that Indigenous feminism brings into the analysis where the emphasis is not only on gender emancipation, but the perspective looks through an anti-colonial and anti-racist lens. As earlier discussed, sexual violence and gender oppression have been tools of colonization and White supremacy.

There has been considerable resistance from Indigenous women to identify with the feminist movement (Smith, 2011, Yee, 2010). For Maracle (1996), her experience of feminism has been a continuation of exclusion and marginalization. In her book, I Am Woman, she colorfully discusses her frustrations with traditional feminism:

… feminism, indeed womanhood itself, was meaningless to me. Racist ideology had defined womanhood for the Native woman as nonexistent, therefore neither the woman question nor the European rebel’s response held any meaning for me. Ignorance is no crime. But when you trot your ignorance before the world as though it were part of some profound truth, that is a crime”. (Maracle, 1996, p. 15).

Recognizing the inherent difference in the conceptualization of ‘Feminism’ from these two worldviews is pivotal within the context of Social Work practice.  It reinforces the requirement that as practitioners, we listen to the stated goals of those we support instead of making assumptions from our locations about their potentially desired outcomes.