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Decolonization Is A Woman's Body

Authored by Casey Caines

Jan 5, 2020


The undoing of colonialism.

A political statement, a social issue, a cultural movement.

Decolonization takes many forms, it has many ideas, paths, journeys. For me, decolonization is a woman’s body. Not just any woman’s body, but our mother’s, our bodies, the bodies that bring life into this world.

They say decolonization is to dismantle, to return back to the world before colonialism made its mark. But, much like the body of our mother’s, the mark of colonialism can never be quite erased.

After having my first baby I stared at my body in the mirror with wonder. This body had grown new life, the closest thing to home that I had ever known but yet it was a stranger if there had ever been one. I read somewhere that it takes nine months for your body to house a child, so you should give yourself at least nine months for it to return to you. I waited.

It turns out your body may return in some ways, but it never comes back to you quite the same as it was. The red lines a map of the journey from woman to motherhood, the squishiness of an abdomen only a memory of the organs that arranged themselves around the baby, a miracle in its own right. There is a softness, and a ferociousness. Your body the embodiment of the paths you’ve walked and the life you’ve created.

Canada is a lot like that. The marks of colonialism are evident in our institutions, our architecture, our languages, our education, even in the way we raise our babies. We are hundreds of years in, and much like the bodies of our mothers, it may take just as many years to find our way back. If we do find our way back. And if we do, I imagine we will find that nothing comes back to you quite the same.

For if Canada harbours the marks of colonization, like our mothers display the marks of their babies, then we too are products of our nation. We belong to each other. In this belonging, a community.

So as I sit here, in this body, on this land, I remember all we have lost, and also all we have gained. Our Indigenous brethren sit at the table, they give insight on the environment, philosophy, social connections. For all that colonization has taken, it is a stark reminder of resiliency and strength. Decolonization is not an instruction booklet, but a way of life. A way of life that requires us to remember that we belong to each other.

We are all connected and if we can hold that close, maybe we too will find our way home, where sovereignty and community grow in sync.


From T8GP Admin: Be sure to visit the author's personal blog at, an online space where she beautifully captures the magical complexities of motherhood. Her words are good medicine. Thank you, Casey.

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