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Widening the Story - Artifact 5

Teaching Eugenic Practices to Accelerate Settler Colonialism


In order to help justify the process of claiming the land and its peoples, settler administrators, officers, physicians, educators, and scientists framed ᓂᑕᑦ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ (First Nations Peoples) as impaired and “mentally unfit.” These descriptors were a precursor to the unethical sterilization and institutionalization of ᓂᑕᑦ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ (First Nations Peoples), and the forced removal of their children from their families and communities.

By 1928, eugenicists supported their claims with culturally biased intelligence testing on children. Eugenics leaders used the false classification to justify the forced and coerced sterilization of ᓂᑕᑦ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ (First Nations Peoples).

In the article “The Mental Capacity of Southern Ontario Indians,” Elmer Jamieson and Peter Sandiford connect eugenics to colonial policies against ᓂᑕᑦ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ (First Nations Peoples).1(footnote) The article and its argument exemplifies the role racist pseudo-scientific research played in white settler institutions in bolstering and accelerating Canada’s desire to dehumanize and eliminate ᓂᑕᑦ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ (First Nations Peoples) with the goal of gaining access to their land and resources.2(footnote)

  1. Elmer Jamieson and Peter Sandiford, “The Mental Capacity of Southern Ontario Indians,” The Journal of Educational Psychology 19 (May 1928): 536–51.

  2. Karen Stote, An Act of Genocide: Colonialism and the Sterilization of Aboriginal Women (Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2015), (Source).