We Were Children

If you missed the recent broadcast of We Were Children you can still watch the full movie online. It will be available for viewing until April 23.

We Were Children

We Were Children is a 2012 Canadian documentary film about the experiences of First Nations children in the Canadian Indian residential school system. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada. For over 130 years, Canada’s First Nations children were legally required to attend Government-funded schools run by various orders of the Christian faith. ‘We Were Children’ is based on the testimony of two survivors.

A 24 hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is posted at the beginning of the film offering assistant to anyone who is distressed by the broadcast: 1-866-925-4419

The film was shot in Manitoba, in Winnipeg, St-Pierre-Jolys and at the former Portage residential school, now the Rufus Prince building, in Portage la Prairie. It was produced by Kyle Irving for Eagle Vision, Loren Mawhinney for eOne Television, and produced and executive produced by David Christensen for the National Film Board of Canada. The executive producer for the Eagle Vision was Lisa Meeches, whose parents and older siblings were sent to residential schools.

Meeches, who spent over seven years travelling across Canada to collect residential school survivors’ stories for the Government of Canada, has stated that the idea for the film originated from a discussion she’d had at the Banff World Media Festival.[6] It was Meeches who approached director Wolochatiuk with the project. CBC Manitoba reporter Sheila North Wilson assisted the production by translating material in the script from English to Cree.
We Were Children premiered on October 2, 2012 at the Vancouver International Film Festival, followed by a screening at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto on October 18. It was broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in March 2013, followed by a DVD release from the National Film Board of Canada on April 12, 2013. (background information taken from the wikipedia article written on the film).

Today, March 27, 2014 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada begins hearings at the Shaw Conference Centre. The hearings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged. As the TRC Mandate (1998) stated, it is not only the sincere “acknowledgement of the injustices and harms experienced by Aboriginal people” but also the community’s step for “continued healing” and “[paving] [of] the way for reconciliation” that is the overall aim of testimonies through the the context of the TRC.

The program for the TRC in Edmonton can be found here:http://www.trc.ca/websites/alberta/index.php?p=766

NO REGISTRATION NEEDED TO ATTEND.
Those wishing to provide a statement to the Commission may register onsite during the event.

CAN’T COME? The Alberta National Event will be livestreamed at http://www.trc.ca.

Alberta Eugenics Awareness Week 2012: Highlights Video

Well, at last, here it is.  Watch, enjoy, share, like.

Contemporary practices of sterilization in Australia

As a follow up to the post in the first link below, here is a list of further related links on those wanting to know more.  Thanks to a helpful anonymous reader of the What Sorts blog who provided most of the links below but who doesn’t wish to be identified.  Folks in Oz: let us know if you have more information, are undertaking action, whatever.

Forced sterilization and disability in Australia

From a “better babies” competition, 1913

 

A Senate committee was recently established in Australia to review existing law and social policy concerning the sterilization of people with disabilities.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/forced_sterilisation/info.htm

It seems that the inquiry is a response to public response (surprise? outrage?) to finding out that this practice continues in Australia under state and territorial legislation, and beyond it.

I suspect that the commission will find that Continue reading

Sweden Moves to End Forced Sterilization of Transgender People

Sweden, “one of 17 [countries] in the European Union,” may soon change a law that requires transgendered people to become sexually sterilized if they decide to officially change gender.  Sweden has made moves to repeal the law in January, only to be stopped by the Christian Democrat Party.  However, this party has recently changed their mind, allowing the repeal to go through.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/sweden-moves-to-end-forced-sterilization-transgender-people

This move was partially in thanks to an online petition, by AllOut (http://allout.org/en/actions/stop_forced_sterilization), which gained 80,000 international signatures to repeal the law.  However, the date for repealing the law is still pending.

Countries that still require sterilization include France, Italy, Romania, Poland, Greece, and Portugal.  For a map outlining the current status of European sterilization, you can link here: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/most-european-countries-force-sterilization-transgender-people-map

Added support for compensation and public acknowledgment for eugenics victims in North Carolina

h/t Doug Wahlsten.

North Carolina state flag

North Carolina state flag

The state of North Carolina has recently been revisiting its extensive eugenic past, and the latest move is a statement of support for compensation for sterilization victims from the director of Legal and Regulatory Studies at the John Locke Foundation.  Eugenic sterilization legislation was in place in NC until 1979; there are slightly fewer than 3000 living survivors of the regime of sterilization that was in place in NC until that time.

The full story is in the Lincoln Tribune.

“Project Prevention”

The story below by Nick Collins is from the Sydney Morning Herald; h/t Peter Chen.

What year is it?  From what they’re doing, you might think 1910, rather than 2010.  And from the name of the project, you might think  1984.  See also the earlier BBC News story, from February 2010, “Should drug addicts be paid to get sterilised?”

Charity pays addict $320 to have a vasectomy

Nick Collins

October 19, 2010

LONDON: A drug addict has become the first person in Britain to be sterilised in exchange for cash under a new project.

The man, known as John, who has been addicted to heroin for 15 years, was given £200 ($320) by a US charity to have a vasectomy.  Project Prevention, the charity running the scheme, has made similar payments to thousands of men and women in the US in a campaign to prevent them having children who may inherit their addictions. //

The 38-year-old man said he had been involved with drugs since age 11 or 12 and that the offer of money had prompted him to have the operation.  ”It was kind of what spurred me into doing it in a way. It was something that I’d been thinking about for a long time and something that I’d already made my mind up that I wanted to do. Just hadn’t got around to it.”  The charity began offering the cash incentive to British addicts after paying 3500 Americans to be sterilised.

You can read the full story here, and an earlier story on passing the 3000th person milestone, back in April 2009, over here. There is also a Facebook group, “No to eugenics in the UK! Keep Project Prevention Out of the UK“.  You can also see how Project Prevention presents itself on its website; it is a 501(c) registered charity in the US.

Fat Studies: A Critical Dialogue

Call For Papers
“Fat Studies: A Critical Dialogue”

Special Journal Issue of Feminism & Psychology
Guest Editor: Dr Samantha Murray

While cultural anxieties about fatness and stigmatisation of fat
bodies in Western cultures have been central to dominant discourses
about bodily `propriety´ since the early twentieth century, the rise
of the `disease´ category of obesity and the moral panic over an
alleged global `obesity epidemic´ has lent a medical authority and
legitimacy to what can be described as `fat-phobia´. Against the
backdrop of the ever-growing medicalisation and pathologisation of
fatness, the field of Fat Studies has emerged in recent years to offer
an interdisciplinary critical interrogation of the dominant medical
models of health, to give voice to the lived experience of fat bodies,
and to offer critical insights into, and investigations of, the
ethico-political implications of the cultural meanings that have come
to be attached to fat bodies.

This Special Issue will examine a range of questions concerning the
construction of fat bodies in the dominant imaginary, including the
problematic intersection of medical discourse and morality around
`obesity´, disciplinary technologies of `health´ to normalise fat
bodies (such as diet regimes, exercise programs and bariatric
surgeries), gendered aspects of `fat´, dominant discourses of
`fatness´ in a range of cultural contexts, and critical strategies for
political resistance to pervasive `fat-phobic´ attitudes. Continue reading

Retrofit 5-Pack, end of 2009 spirit

Here are five What Sorts posts that I had particular fun writing–from mid-2008 to early 2009–that can serve as a kind of bon voyage for 2009 … despite the fact that only two of them were written in 2009, and pretty early on, at that. Farewell 2009, farewell! May 2010 bring more sunshine and fewer clouds.

Julia Serano’s “Cocky”

“Let’s Talk About It”: Contemporary Eugenics for Louisiana and the Problem of Intergenerational Welfare

Two birds, one stone

Pollyannaism about polygamy: Martha Nussbaum on Mormon History

Standing corrected: Why is there no apostrophe in “Hells Angels”?

For the Love of Annie

There’s a recent interview with Barb Farlow up at Bloom–Parenting Kids with Disabilities–by Louise Kinross. It starts with the following background information:

When Barb Farlow learned the baby she was carrying had Trisomy 13, her decision to continue the pregnancy “was immediate and innate, and in complete contrast to what I thought I might do,” says the Toronto mother and engineer. She was told the syndrome was lethal, but through online support groups met families whose children were living with Trisomy 13. “It was very important to us that she not suffer unnecessarily, but we wanted to consider any surgical treatments and make ‘best-interest’ decisions for her, like any parent.”

Barb’s daughter Annie (above) was born without the brain and heart defects common in Trisomy 13, but died at 80 days in 2005 after being rushed to a children’s hospital in respiratory distress. Following her death, Barb acquired Annie’s medical records and learned a “not for intubation” order had been written without consent. “This discovery was like the first domino in a long line of questionable events that left us unclear as to whether our daughter’s death was preventable.” Determined to change what she believes is systemic discrimination against treating children with certain genetic conditions, Barb shares Annie’s story at health-care conferences and ethics talks, with medical and law students, in medical journals and through her work with Patients for Patient Safety Canada.

To read the interview itself, which is informative about how Barb and Annie were treated within the medical establishment, including by medical staff at one of Canada’s leading hospitals for sick children, click here.

Sesame Street Reaches Middle Age

sesamestreet-groupAs someone as interested as much in the sorts of people we as a society think valuable as in the processes that we use to produce more of those we value, and fewer of those we don’t, I was was struck by a brilliant post last week at Like a Whisper on a topic that might not be suspected of raising deep points about both these values and how we shape people to realize them: Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary. Like many people born in the past 50 or so years, I grew up on a steady diet of Sesame Street, initially in black and white in the back streets of Broken Hill, and later in full colour in the beach-laden northern suburbs of Perth.

I remember, quite vividly still, a particular episode that has made its way into family lore. My parents had decided that they needed to make a break from a gritty mining town in the outback of Western New South Wales for somewhere that at least had grass (really), or even water in visible supply, and took me on a trip with them east, touring through the eastern part of the state, through Tamworth (my first sight of real greenery), Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, and all the way up to Lismore, before torrential rainfall ended any more northerly ventures. While in Coffs Harbour, Sesame Street was doing its usual share of child-minding while my folks got on with other things. We were in some very cheap motel that included a coin-fed television, what we might think of as the early version of pay tv. Continue reading

The new growth attenuation paper by Dr. Diekema, Dr. Fost with others

I read the full text of the growth-attenuation paper written by Dr. Diekema and Dr. Fost with others in the June issue of the Pediatrics. So many questions and mysteries again. I will point out some of them here for now. Some of the questions and mysteries will be reviewed more closely in my future posts.

1. The authors’ definition of profound cognitive disability “for purpose of growth-attenuation therapy” is not totally about cognitive disabilities but mostly about physical disabilities. It disguises the fact that growth attenuation is in fact a therapy that addresses problems caused by severe physical disabilities, not by cognitive disabilities, which they have been using as a convenient excuse for justification. But maybe we should also note that the authors didn’t forget to add “for present time” when they wrote that it should be limited to children with profound cognitive disability.

2. Their justification for excluding hysterectomy and breast bud removal from discussion is something like this: Criticism was mostly targeted at hysterectomy and breast bud removal in the Ashley case controversy in 2007 (implying maybe that growth attenuation was not all that criticized and pretty much approved?), and in addition, growth attenuation does not necessarily accompany the other two interventions. But these are lame excuses. Continue reading

The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: The Full Story

Below are all 13 posts from our Modern Pursuit series of posts, deriving from the public dialogue that we cosponsored with the AACL and the CACL at the University of Alberta in October 2008. The public dialogue began with some opening comments from our cosponsors, continued with short presentations from our community member panelists talking of their personal experiences, and was rounded out by a series of interchanges between audience and panel. All videos now contain transcripts (thanks to Jackie Ostrem for completing the work needed here: update 21 June, 2009: all now are closed captioned, thanks again Jackie!), and the videos are also available on YouTube. Comments on the blog on any of these posts is still welcome, but we also hope that you’ll find these of interest and use down the track for individual reflection or group discussion.

Thanks to all participants: Anna Macquarrie, Bruce Uditsky, Dick Sobsey, Wendy Macdonald, Sam Sansalone, Colleen Campbell, Anne Hughson, and Simo Vehmas. And thanks to Grant Wang and Lee Ramsdell at the Arts Resource Centre at the University of Alberta for the filming and post-production work, and John Simpson for organizational assistance.

Introduction

My doctor, my child

Living with trisomy 13, part I

Living with trisomy 13, part II

When disability meets social welfare

Bioethical reflections on disability, medicine, and family life

Decisions and dishonesty in medicine

Connecting with others

Vulnerability, trust, and confrontation

Good people in medicine and the disconnect

The denial of parenthood and selective abortion

Going underground and true choice

Disability, individual autonomy, and systematic devaluation

The Denial of Parenthood and Selective Abortion

[This is the eleventh post in a series highlighting a public dialogue held at the University of Alberta on October 23rd, 2008, titled The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of Life. The dialogue was sponsored by the What Sorts Network, in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Alberta Association for Community Living. For further context, please see the introductory post in the series, which can be found here; we'll string together all posts in this series when we have most / all of them up, or you can search by the category "Modern Pursuit" to get those already posted.]

Here is Bruce Uditsky, executive director of the Alberta Association for Community Living, on the hurt that people with developmental disabilities feel on being denied the right to parent, and on the kinds of choices that we allow in our society. The latter comments here reply to some of what Simo Vehmas said in his panel presentation, shown as “Bioethical reflections on disability, medicine, and family life” earlier in this series, and Simo makes a further reply, in turn, here. A transcript follows the video. Continue reading

When Disability Meets Social Welfare

[This is the fifth post in a series highlighting a public dialogue held at the University of Alberta on October 23rd, 2008, titled The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of Life. The dialogue was sponsored by the What Sorts Network, in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Alberta Association for Community Living. This series will bring forward the videos made of this event twice a week, roughly every Wednesday and Saturday. For further context, please see the introductory post in the series, which can be found here; we'll string together all posts in this series when we have most / all of them up, or you can search by the category "Modern Pursuit" to get those already posted.]

Here Colleen Campbell and Anne Hughson tell the story of how Colleen’s daughter was taken away from her for over 4 years, and Colleen’s subsequent struggle to get her back. The story is all too common, not only in Edmonton, but in many places, and raises issues of disability, good mothering, and the social welfare system, and the relationship between them. Why is Colleen considered such a “bad parent” by child services that her child would be taken away from her for what was then 1/3 of her daughter’s life? Shouldn’t social services be working to keep struggling families together, rather than pulling them apart? Wendy and Sam, who featured in the preceding posts in this series, were “normal parents” fighting for their children; here Colleen faces the struggle to prove herself as a competent parent. One question that Anne asks that doesn’t get answered is whether there was a complaint against Colleen, something that we’ll see addressed in the question period (which we’ll post down the track). There we’ll also learn more about what Colleen was working as during this time, which also makes some of the preceding questions more pressing. View the clip!; transcript beneath the fold. Continue reading

Reparations for Eugenic Sterilization in North Carolina?

From the Associated Press, courtesy of DAWG Oregon; it looks like the reference (below the fold) to Illinois as the first state to enact sterilization should be to Indiana, though if I’m misreading this (or am just wrong), let us know! Note that the dates for eugenic sterilization in NC were 1929-1975, almost the same as for Alberta, 1929-1975. *****

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers pushed Thursday to offer reparations to thousands of victims of a forced sterilization program now recognized as a shameful part of U.S. history.

A state House panel recommended the state give $20,000 to victims of the eugenics program, which sterilized about 7,600 people between 1929 and 1975 who were considered to be mentally handicapped or genetically inferior. Though North Carolina and several other states have apologized, none had offered reparations.

“Yes, it is ugly. It’s not something that we’re proud,” said state Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, who has been working on the issue for several years. “But I’m glad that North Carolina has done more than any other state to step forward and not run away from it.” Lawmakers in the full General Assembly will have to approve the idea. They convene next month. Continue reading

Society for Disability Studies (SDS) Annual Convention 2009: Call for Proposals

NOTE FROM ST: If you are organizing a conference and wish to make it inclusive of, and accessible to, a diverse range of disabled people, you should take some cues from the requirements for accessible presentations which are provided in this CFP following the description of themes for this conference. Notice, for instance, that the accessibility provisions are made explicit in the CFP itself.  Thus, disabled individuals who wish to submit a paper and/or attend the conference are not required to contact the conference organizers themselves in order to inquire about the accessibility of the event, nor are they left to guess, hope, or take their chances in regard to its accessibility.

THEME:  “IT’S ‘OUR’ TIME:  PATHWAYS TO AND FROM
DISABILITY STUDIES—PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE”

The Society for Disability Studies is pleased to announce a call for proposals for its annual convention, to be held June 17-20, 2009, in Tucson, Arizona, at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort.  The theme for this convention is “It’s ‘Our’ Time: Pathways to and From Disability Studies—Past, Present, Future.”  Time, in all its forms, conceptualizations, and manifestations, will be the central focus of the conference, though proposals on any topic relevant to Disability Studies are welcomed.  We imagine a number of different ways of approaching the issue of time, a concept critical to all aspects of disability experience and culture: Continue reading

Three Events in Edmonton on Disability and Eugenics

This week in Edmonton The What Sorts Network is holding three public events around the themes of disability and eugenics that follow up two earlier conferences / workshops (Eugenics and Sterilization in Alberta: 35 Years Later in April 2007, and Understanding Human Variation in September 2007). All events are free, and everyone is welcome.

PUBLIC DIALOGUE, Thursday, 23rd October, 7-9pm: The Pursuit of Modern Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of Life

PUBLIC WORKSHOP, Friday, 24th October 8.30am – 4.00pm: Families and Memory

PUBLIC SYMPOSIUM, Saturday, 25th October 1.30 – 4.30pm: Philosophy, Eugenics, and Disability in Alberta and Places North

Continue reading