Click here to view the poster as a pdf – Scope of Eugenics p
Click here to view the poster as a pdf – Scope of Eugenics p
The Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada has launched the ‘long awaited’ website on Friday Oct 24, 2014. You can explore the website now by typing in this URL: http://eugenicsarchive.ca/
BIG thanks to the technical team, Natasha Nunn (Tech team lead), Ben McMahen, and Colette Leung! Numerous Living Archives team members have contributed to the content.
In the weeks to come the site will be filled with more content as articles are still being returned from reviews and a few section are stil be worked on.
Please share the website and watch for new additions to come!
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 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. 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.
For 116 years, thousands of Aboriginal children in Alberta were sent to Indian Residential Schools funded by the federal government and run by the churches. They were taken from their families and communities in order to be stripped of language, cultural identity and traditions.
Canada’s attempt to wipe out Aboriginal cultures failed. But it left an urgent need for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.
There were more Indian Residential Schools in Alberta than in any other province. The Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) is holding its Alberta National Event in Edmonton this year.
Come and share your truth about the schools and their legacy. Witness and celebrate the resilience of Aboriginal cultures.
(excerpt from TRC.ca)
Alberta National Event – March 27 – 30, 2014 will be held in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre 9797 Jasper Avenue. No registration needed to attend. Those wishing to provide a statement to the Commission may register onsite during the event.
You can download the program click here
On Thursday March 20 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the University of Alberta, Lister Centre, Maple Leaf Room
Understanding the TRC: Exploring Reconciliation, Intergenerational Trauma, and Indigenous Resistance featuring:
Commissioner Dr. Wilton Littlechild
Dr. Rebecca Sockbeson
Dr. Ian Mosby
Dr. Keavy Martin
Moderated by Jodi Stonehouse
Reception 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Tea, bannock and berries. Event is free.
Gala Reading featuring:
Daniel Heath Justice
Anna Marie Sewell
Richard Van Camp
Friday, March 21 from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm in Humanities Centre L-1 (111th Street and Saskatchewan Drive)
Giveaways. Books for sale. Free Admission
You find this information and links to campus maps here
On January 20th in the Edmonton Journal, Willie Littlechild announced that that the TRC will be in Edmonton this March. Here is the article with a few more details.
Edmonton will host the final national event in March for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission dealing with Canada’s residential schools legacy.
The March 27-30 event, open to the public at the Shaw Conference Centre, is expected to attract up to 4,000 people a day to learn about the history of the schools, talk about their experiences and take part in cultural activities.
“It’s almost the start of reconciliation … It’s not the end of it,” commissioner Willie Littlechild told the city’s community services committee Monday.
Alberta had about 25 residential schools, more than any other province. They operated in Canada from the 1870s to 1996, Littlechild said.
There are about 12,000 survivors living in the province, the largest proportion of them in Edmonton, he said.
“It’s an opportunity to many to begin their healing journey,” said the former Conservative MP, who spent more than a decade in the residential school system.
“Every citizen of Canada is affected by this history.”
The committee recommended Edmonton contribute $250,000 in cash and services to the event’s $2-million budget, which city council will vote on next week.
The city, which put in a bid about three years ago, was chosen as host for the Alberta national event over Calgary, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie, Littlechild said.
Mayor Don Iveson called it an “extraordinary opportunity” to hear about aboriginal history and begin the process of reconciliation.
The six other Canadian cities that hosted the previous national events contributed to their cost, he said.
“This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It arises from some fairly horrific historical circumstances; however, this is about learning from that and where we go as a community,” he said.
“We still have a phenomenal amount of work to do. This is a step. It may be symbolic, but sometimes symbolism is very, very important.”
About 150,000 aboriginal children were sent by the federal government over decades to church-run schools, where many faced physical and sexual abuse.
A lawsuit against the federal government and churches resulted in a settlement that included payments to those affected and creation of the commission in 2008.
Its job is to hold public hearings so people can tell their stories, collect records and establish a national research centre.
Please join us in Edmonton at the University of Alberta for a series of events throughout Wednesday October 16 to Tuesday October 22, 2013 that mark:
Alberta Eugenics Awareness Week (AEAW) 2013 ~ Oct 16 – Oct 22, 2013
Wednesday Oct 16 – Rob Wilson, University of Alberta, Standpoint Eugenics. Brown-bag lunch co-sponsored with the Dept. of Educational Policy Studies. Noon-1:30pm, 7-102 Education North.
Thursday Oct 17 – Eugenics and Indigenous Perspectives. Discussion panel co-sponsored with the Faculty of Native Studies. Panelists: Tracy Bear, Joanne Faulkner, Jerry Kachur, Noon-1:00pm, 2-06 Pembina Hall.
Friday Oct 18 – 1) Persons’ Day Panel: Feminism, Motherhood and Eugenics: Historical Perspectives. Panelists: Wendy Kline, University of Cincinnati, Erika Dyck, University of Saskatchewan, and Molly Ladd-Taylor, York University. Noon – 1:00 pm, Henderson Hall, Rutherford South. Wheelchair accessible. 2) Wendy Kline, University of Cincinnati, “The Little Manual that Started a Revolution: How Midwifery Became a Hippie Practice”, 3:30 – 5.00pm, Assiniboia 2-02A, co-sponsored with the Departments of History and Classics, and Women’s and Gender Studies. 3) FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement. A documentary by Regan Brashear www.fixedthemovie.com, co-sponsored with the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre. Telus Centre 150. Doors at 6:30 pm, film at 7:00 pm. Q&A with Dr. Gregor Wolbring (who is featured in the film) following the film. Wheelchair accessible and closed captioned.
Saturday Oct 19 – Team Meeting, Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada. 2-02A Assiniboia Hall (9:00 am – 4:30 pm) Lunch provided; please RSVP to email@example.com by Noon Oct 16th.
Monday Oct 21 – 1) Joanne Faulkner, University of New South Wales, The Politics of Childhood and Community Identity. Noon – 1:00 pm in 7-152 Education North. Co-sponsored by the Departments of Educational Policy Studies and Human Ecology. 2) World Premiere “Surviving Eugenics in the 21st Century: Our Stories Told” 7:00 pm – 9:15 pm Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712 – 109 Street NW, Edmonton. Trailer: http://youtu.be/QoM12GAJm8I; closed captioned and ASL interpretation; wheelchair access through the alley entrance. Please sign up in advance at Facebook to help us with numbers!
Tuesday Oct 22 – 1) Joanne Faulkner, University of New South Wales, The Coming Postcolonial Community: Political Ontology of Aboriginal Childhood in Bringing Them Home. 4.00 – 5.30pm in Assiniboia 2-02a. Co-sponsored with the Departments of Philosophy and Sociology. 2) Difference and Diversity: An Evening of Performances. Featuring CRIPSiE (formerly iDance), a reading by Leilani Muir, the art work of Nick Supina III, and much more. Education North 4-104. Doors at 6:30 pm, performances at 7:00 pm. Please sign up in advance via Facebook to help us with numbers!
ASL Interpretation can be arranged for events, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the event.
All Events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
All events are at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.
This year Alberta Eugenics Awareness Week (AEAW) will take place October 16 through October 22, 2013.
Our bi-annual Team Meeting will be held at the University of Alberta in Assiniboia Hall 2-02A (our regular room) on Saturday October 19th from 9:00 – 4:30 (time will be confirmed closer to the date). Please save the date and plan to attend.
We will also be holding an event on Friday October 18th to mark Person’s Day. Living Archives Team Member Dr. Joanne Faulkner from the University of New South Wales will be giving a talk along with other team members.
We are currently planning other events and talks with the Faculty of Native Studies and the Department of History at the University of Alberta throughout the week.
Sunday October 20 we will be showing FIXED, a movie that features Team member Dr. Gregor Wolbring. Gregor will be on hand following the film for discussion and questions. You can see a short trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84TaYi15vps
Location and time will be announced shortly!!
On Monday October 21, 2013 we will be presenting the premier of our interview videos in a short film presentation called: “Surviving Eugenics in the 21st Century: Our Stories Told” . This will be held at Metro Cinema 8712 109 St, Edmonton. More details will be forth coming.
On Tuesday October 22, 2013 we will be holding An Evening of Performances (still working on the title) at the Arts-based Research Studio (4-104, Education North). CRIPSiE (formerly iDance) will be performing and Leilani Muir will be reading from her book. We have several artists that will be performing – one team member will be showing us her skills with hula hoops (yes that’s correct hula hoops!). Rumor has it that a Belly Troupe made of up of all ages, sizes and abilities will be performing, but you will have to attend to find out if this is only a rumor. We have other performers who have expressed interest but are not finalized yet so more details will be announced soon.
If you plan to attend from out of town please contact Moyra. For those of you in Edmonton and planning on attending we need volunteers throughout the week, please contact Moyra: (email@example.com)
All events are FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC. Save the dates and plan to attend! Bring your friends and families and spread the word. Posters will be distributed soon!
As a follow-up to the previous post, “Hungry aboriginal kids, adults were subject of nutritional experiments“, here is some coverage of the events through the Toronto Star and CBC. Article highlights are as follows.
After World War II, the Canadian government subjected aboriginal children and adults to nutritional experiments without their consent. Many of these experiments were conducted in order to gather information about what the human body needs in terms of vitamins and nutrition. It resulted in lack of dental care for Aboriginal peoples as well, in order to use gum health as an undistorted measuring tool for scientists (Livingstone, Toronto Star).
Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, states in the Toronto Star that
“This discovery, it’s indicative of the attitude toward aboriginals,” Sinclair said. “They thought aboriginals shouldn’t be consulted and their consent shouldn’t be asked for. They looked at it as a right to do what they wanted then.” (Sinclair, July 21 2013)
It is likely that even at the time, these experiments were seen as ethically dubious (perhaps especially after the atrocities of World War II), and therefore probably why Ian Mosby, the post-doctorate from the University of Guelph, whose research brought these policies to life, uncovered only “vague references to studies conducted on ‘Indians'” while researching the development of health policy for a different project (Livingstone, Toronto Star).
Mosby elaborates, again suggesting the classification of Aboriginals as less than other people,
“I think they really did think they were helping people. Whether they thought they were helping the people that were actually involved in the studies — that’s a different question.” (Mosby, July 21 2013)
The CBC provides archival material from via historian James Daschuk, of a 1946 report of the lives of First Nations in Northern Manitoba.
You can read the full articles through the links below:
New historical research reveals that Canadian government bureaucrats conducted nutritional experiments on hungry aboriginal children and adults. Ian Mosby, PhD, is a Historian of Food and Nutrition and while doing postdoctoral work at University of Guelph he came across references to studies conducted on “Indians”.
“This was the hardest thing I’ve ever written,” said Ian Mosby, who has revealed new details about one of the least-known but perhaps most disturbing aspects of government policy toward aboriginals immediately after the Second World War.
Mosby — whose work at the University of Guelph focuses on the history of food in Canada — was researching the development of health policy when he ran across something strange.
“I started to find vague references to studies conducted on ‘Indians’ that piqued my interest and seemed potentially problematic, to say the least,” he said. “I went on a search to find out what was going on.”
Government documents eventually revealed a long-standing, government-run experiment that came to span the entire country and involved at least 1,300 aboriginals, most of them children.
It began with a 1942 visit by government researchers to a number of remote reserve communities in northern Manitoba, including places such as The Pas and Norway House.
They found people who were hungry, beggared by a combination of the collapsing fur trade and declining government support. They also found a demoralized population marked by, in the words of the researchers, “shiftlessness, indolence, improvidence and inertia.”
The researchers suggested those problems — “so long regarded as inherent or hereditary traits in the Indian race” — were in fact the results of malnutrition.
Instead of recommending an increase in support, the researchers decided that isolated, dependent, hungry people would be ideal subjects for tests on the effects of different diets.
“This is a period of scientific uncertainty around nutrition,” said Mosby. “Vitamins and minerals had really only been discovered during the interwar period.
“In the 1940s, there were a lot of questions about what are human requirements for vitamins. Malnourished aboriginal people became viewed as possible means of testing these theories.”
The first experiment began in 1942 on 300 Norway House Cree. Of that group, 125 were selected to receive vitamin supplements which were withheld from the rest.
At the time, researchers calculated the local people were living on less than 1,500 calories a day. Normal, healthy adults generally require at least 2,000.
“The research team was well aware that these vitamin supplements only addressed a small part of the problem,” Mosby writes. “The experiment seems to have been driven, at least in part, by the nutrition experts’ desire to test their theories on a ready-made ‘laboratory’ populated with already malnourished human experimental subjects.”
The research spread. In 1947, plans were developed for research on about 1,000 hungry aboriginal children in six residential schools in Port Alberni, B.C., Kenora, Ont., Schubenacadie, N.S., and Lethbridge, Alta.
One school deliberately held milk rations for two years to less than half the recommended amount to get a ‘baseline’ reading for when the allowance was increased. At another, children were divided into one group that received vitamin, iron and iodine supplements and one that didn’t.
One school depressed levels of vitamin B1 to create another baseline before levels were boosted. A special enriched flour that couldn’t legally be sold elsewhere in Canada under food adulteration laws was used on children at another school.
And, so that all the results could be properly measured, one school was allowed none of those supplements.
Many dental services were withdrawn from participating schools during that time. Gum health was an important measuring tool for scientists and they didn’t want treatments on children’s teeth distorting results.
The experiments, repugnant today, would probably have been considered ethically dubious even at the time, said Mosby.
“I think they really did think they were helping people. Whether they thought they were helping the people that were actually involved in the studies, that’s a different question.”
He noted that rules for research on humans were just being formulated and adopted by the scientific community.
Little has been written about the nutritional experiments. A May 2000 article in the Anglican Journal about some of them was the only reference Mosby could find.
“I assumed that somebody would have written about an experiment conducted on aboriginal people during this period, and kept being surprised when I found more details and the scale of it. I was really, really surprised.
“It’s an emotionally difficult topic to study.”
Not much was learned from those hungry little bodies. A few papers were published — “they were not very helpful,” Mosby said — and he couldn’t find evidence that the Norway House research program was completed.
“They knew from the beginning that the real problem and the cause of malnutrition was underfunding. That was established before the studies even started and when the studies were completed that was still the problem.”
The original article can be found here: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/sci_tech/hungry-aboriginal-kids-adults-were-subject-of-nutritional-experiments-paper-215688421.html
Mosby’s published paper “Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942–1952” can be found in the journal “Social History” Volume 46, Number 91, May 2013, pp. 145-172.
The abstract for Mosby’s paper on the study can be found here: http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/histoire_sociale_social_history/v046/46.91.mosby.html
Mosby’s blog can be found here: http://www.ianmosby.ca/
Six decades ago, a malady known as consumption stormed across the Arctic, snuffing hundreds of lives, tearing apart thousands of families, and seeding a deep distrust in a bungling public health-care system.
Now, the pernicious disease written so indelibly upon Inuit history and psychology is making an unwelcome return to the North. This week, Nunavut recorded its 98th case of tuberculosis in 2010, the most logged in the territory’s 11-year history. Continue reading
The following letter by What Sorts Network member Nick Supina III, an Edmonton-based artist with a cognitive disability, was published in the Edmonton Journal on Sunday, 25th October, 2009, in response to an article by Paula Simons on October 13th. Nick’s letter can be viewed at the journal site right here. Congratulations to Nick on getting the letter published!
Re: “Posthumous Senate appointments bittersweet victory,” by Paula Simons, Oct. 13.
Paula Simons applauds Canada’s Senate for naming Alberta’s “Famous 5” suffrage pioneers as honourary senators to mark the 80th anniversary of the landmark “Persons Case” ruling, which established that Canadian women were “persons” with the right to hold public office, including a Senate appointment. To her credit, Simons acknowledged that some of these appointees were “staunch advocates of Alberta’s despicable eugenics program of forced sterilization of people deemed ‘unfit to breed.’ ” Simons also wrote, “Certainly, it is one of the painful ironies of Alberta’s history that some of the same crusaders who led the flight for votes for women, then turned around and used the political power they had won to undermine the human rights of some of the most marginalized and vulnerable citizens.”
To know the history of eugenics is to know the “eugenics irony” is more than that which Simons acknowledged. Continue reading
Edmonton’s inaugural Festival of Ideas, a 4-day smorgasbord of events for the mind, kicks off today with a conversation with Salman Rushdie. The Festival is a “signature event” for the University of Alberta’s 100th anniversary, and is book-ended by the Rushdie conversation tonight and a dialogue between E. O. Wilson and David Schindler on Sunday. In between there are talks on genocide, on child soldiers, and on biodiversity and climate change, as well as the world premier of the film Fear of Images. You can see the schedule of events, and get more information, right here.
One thing that you’ll notice, if you scoot over, Continue reading
How should the courtroom interpreter interpret their own role in the courtroom? And what discrepencies exist in understandings of this role, between defence and prosecution lawyers, judges, defendants, and the interpreters themselves?
This comprehensive and interesting Australian Radio National podcast may interest readers of the ‘what sorts’ blog, especially with respect to the interests of access to justice and the ability to be fully linguistically present at one’s own trial. Continue reading
The Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies is seeking proposals for 2 themed issues: “Blindness and Literature,” which will be guest-edited by Georgina Kleege; and “Disabling Postcolonialism,” which will be guest-edited by Clare Barker and Stuart Murray. For more information please visit www.journalofliterarydisability.com
is deeply indebted to a range of diverse literatures, carefully and extensively footnoted, and though the book is fairly long, it sustains an impressive momentum. Indeed the last two chapters — on remembrance and rituals of memorializing as love, care, and respect for the dead, and on the nature and importance of bearing witness — Continue reading
The Aboriginal Rights Coalition in Australia held a conference in May, during which it was resolved to have a national day of protest on June 21 — one year after John Howard’s government announced the Intervention in the NT. (I posted about the intervention previously, here)
Among the aims of the national day of action are the following:
– Repeal all “NT intervention” legislation
– Restore the Racial Discrimination Act
– Fund infrastructure and community controlled services
– Sign and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
– Aboriginal Control of Aboriginal Affairs
I think it is fair to say that without any commitment to consultation with the people whom the intervention measures affect directly—and to international agreements that seek to protect the specific interests of indigenous people—policies enacted in these communities cannot yield unambiguous benefits … and arguably are seriously detrimental to the autonomy aboriginal communities had developed regarding employment, etc. Continue reading
There is a conference happening June 19-21 called ‘Hear the Call of the Drum’ which emphasizes Christian aboriginals worshiping their Creator within the context of aboriginal culture. The vision of the aboriginal ministry movement started by the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) is:
1. community development and leadership development within local communities
2. diaconal ministry to help people with immediate needs
3. healing and redeeming ministry for individuals and communities
4. advocacy for justice for aboriginal peoples within Canada
Aboriginal ministry is carried out through:
1) Aboriginal ministries such as Indian Family Centre (Winnipeg), Indian Metis Christian Fellowship (Regina), Native Healing Centre (Edmonton);
2) Outreach ministries by CRC congregations in other communities which include aboriginal people;
3) Reconciliation and awareness-raising activities within CRC congregations throughout Canada;
4) Linkage to local classes and churches;
5) Advocacy activities to reduce racism and work for justice from the level of local communities to the federal government in Canada
Concerts and other workshops will take place in the inner city area of Edmonton. For more information on the event and the movement, check here.
“Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture.
These objectives were based on the assumption aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal.
Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, “to kill the Indian in the child.”
Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.”
The apology was followed by responses from the leaders of the three opposition parties, as well as from four native leaders (of 12 representatives who were present). For more information on the schools, see CBC Canada’s coverage of the Truth and Reconciliation program. See here for Harper’s apology in English text.
Over at Gender, Race, and Philosophy last week, Ron Sundstrom posted an interesting reflection “Philosophy and the Carceral Society” that has generated some correspondingly interesting (but, alas, longer …) comments since then from Jeffrey Paris, Rebecca Gordon, and Eduardo Mendieta that are worth reading in full. In the post, after acknowledging the work of philosophers like Mendieta, Angela Davis and Michel Foucault, Sundstrom says
While there are political philosophers and philosophers of race working on the issue of prisons, it is not a subject at the center of the debate. For example, in the most influential recent analytic accounts of racism, prisons are hardly mentioned. Racial profiling and other such issues are mentioned, but prisons, surprisingly, are not! I suspect that philosophers, myself included, have seen prisons as symptoms, as outcomes of institutional racism and distributive justice at other levels of society. Thus, while educational and residential segregation are regularly addressed, prisons as a subject are neglected.
Given that prisons have become a major institutional source of downstream, transgenerational inequality and marginalization, their relative neglect by philosophers otherwise concerned with justice, oppression, and race here is striking. In his comments, Jeffrey Paris has some especially interesting things to say on this.
What’s the deal in Canada, both on the ground and “in the mind”? While race ain’t quite the category in Canada that it is in the US, consider the following statistics on incarceration rates amongst persons of aboriginal descent from 2004-05 (see Prison Justice for the gorier details):
22% of admissions (vs 3% of the adult population in the 2001 Census)
70% or more of the prison population in each of Saskatchewan, the Yukon, and Manitoba
54% of the female prison population in Alberta (~4% of the provincial population)
Institutional segregation comes in a variety of forms, some explicitly coded (e.g., training centres for the “mentally defective”), some not–like prisons vis-a-vis race, ethnicity, and heritage, and some (like residential schools in Canada) inbetween. One effect of this segregation is a kind of invisibility, and a corresponding death of imagination in the minds of those envisioning what sorts of people there will be, as a result. (Or maybe not: in some cases of institutional segregation, the future vision was all too clear–and THAT was part of the problem … more on this another time.)
If anyone knows of Canadian philosophical work on prisons, incarceration, and differential cultural impact, please share, or let us know why you think this ain’t on the philosophical map, if it ain’t.
The “intervention” into indigenous people’s lives in the Northern Territory, Australia, deserves more international attention than it is receiving; and given its continuation of a way of ‘managing’ aboriginal populations that has dark eugenic resonances, is also relevant to the ‘what sorts of people should there be?’ project.
The intervention was introduced by the previous Howard government when its approval ratings were flailing prior to last year’s election, in what can be seen as a last ditch effort to raise the prejudice, fear and hatred that won him the election in 2001 (just on the heals of September 11). The action involved creating a state of emergency in remote aboriginal communities, and then deploying the army and ad hoc teams of social workers, doctors, and bureaucrats into the area to examine children for signs of sexual abuse. It also has led to the quarantining of welfare payments, bans on liquor and pornography, and (perhaps more controversially) the suspension of what little self-determination indigenous people had in this area, such as the permit system (more about this below).
Apparently in response to a report commissioned by the Northern Territory government, “Little Children Are Sacred“—a report which detailed and proposed solutions to endemic hardship suffered, especially by children, in remote communities of the Northern Territory (sexual abuse being just one of these hardships)—the government called a state of emergency in these communities. Focusing only on sexual abuse and ignoring poverty, the Prime Minister said to Australia that this situation was “our Katrina“. Continue reading