I am getting close to the end of this undergraduate paper that will inform the course of my post-grad work. I wanted to share the abstract because this is a little explored area of Australian Indigenous studies.
Tamar Mayer (2012) concludes that belonging to a nation is invariably gendered. I would argue further that, through the processes of colonial expansion and nation building, indigenous understanding and acceptance of gender diversity and sexual diversity, common in the cultures of indigenous Australia, Canada and Aotearoa/New Zealand, were erased. Sexual control and religious repression, that saw such diversity as disgusting and against the will of God, were used as tools of subjugation. Today the societies of these countries are just beginning to reclaim what was lost through colonialism and this is bringing the historical acceptance to notice. Gender diversity and sexual diversity once lost, is slowly being reclaimed by indigenous peoples. Though the exact nature of the indigenous understanding of sexual diversity and gender diversity is clouded by the language and interpretation of western culture and value systems, there is no doubt that the indigenous cultures of these countries accepted a diversity that is only now, in modern times, being acknowledge by the dominant culture and rediscovered by the indigenous cultures. Some would argue that this diversity had never been lost. I would argue that it had lost its acceptance and respect and as such had been hidden, as though it was never part of indigenous history. The processes that resulted in this loss were very similar for all three countries, but the acknowledgment of that loss and the reclaiming of that diversity is a struggle that has been quite different for each nation. This paper examines the cultural change that occurred in these nations that resulted in the loss of acceptance of this diversity.