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Widening the Story - Artifact 6

Teaching Eugenic Practices to Accelerate Settler Colonialism


Eugenicists constructed faulty and racist notions of feeble-mindedness and used Eurocentric IQ tests to justify sterilizations. At the request of the Association of Ontario Mayors, Dr. William L. Hutton, Medical Officer of Health in, Brantford, Ontario and the founder of the Eugenics Society of Canada, prepared a brief and presented it at the mayor’s annual conference in Orillia in June 1936. Entitled “Brief for Sterilization of the Feeble-Minded,” Hutton asserted that “feeble-mindedness” was an inherited condition among “subnormal families in which the birthrate is high.”

Dr. Hutton included pedigree charts to illustrate his faulty and racist ideas. Like other eugenicists teaching at Macdonald Institute, Dr. Hutton argued that higher birth rates amongst the so-called feeble-minded threatened the future of the human race.1(footnote) As such, eugenicists promoted population control measures such as sterilization and institutionalization.

On page 8 of his report (shown here), Hutton asserts in his chart that the offspring of Mary (who is identified as “Indian”) and Jim have low intelligence. Their granddaughter, May, is described as a “moron.” The text accompanying the chart reads,

In 1937, May refused the offer of sterilization with all her hospital and other expenses paid. May said it was nobody’s business how many children she has. However, her relief allowance had to be increased on account of another child, due to her relations with her third mate.

The above quote demonstrates how Hutton constructed notions of feeble-mindedness, which he then framed as a burden to the state to justify the elimination of those who did not fit the white settler norm.2(footnote)

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Dr. Hutton engaged in an aggressive campaign to promote and push the legalization of eugenic sterilization in Ontario. In 1946, for example, the Brantford School Board followed Hutton’s lead by passing a motion to “strongly” approve eugenic sterilization and to urge the local hospital to perform eugenic sterilizations.

Newspaper article. “School Board in Favor of Sterilization.” The Expositor, Brantford, Wednesday, March 20, 1946, p.6. Originally published in The Brantford Expositor, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

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The Eugenics Society of Canada, led by Dr. Hutton, used popular media to spread ideas about how to improve perceived social problems and the decline of the so-called Anglo-Saxon-Canadian race. They used radio and print media to reach people in their homes, and to make what they believed were “good” moral interventions into people’s lives.

Canadian eugenicists emphasized the relationships between eugenics, education, and the middle-class Anglo-Saxon-Canadian home in Southern Ontario. Eugenicists believed they needed to re-educate men and women, especially parents, about how to fulfill their roles as participants in family life.

Radio Addresses

In 1938 the Eugenics Society of Canada sponsored eight radio addresses.3(footnote) The radio series, called “The Future of the Race,” was intended for a weekly Tuesday evening broadcast. Leaders in Anthropology, Political Economy, Medicine, Law, and Governance wrote the addresses. For example, then-Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, Dr. H.A. Bruce, wrote two of the radio addresses wherein he argued that Ontario needed to adopt and apply German population control laws and policies developed by the Nazi regime. Together, the addresses show how Canadian eugenics leaders used their legislated positions of authority to influence public opinion and policy about race betterment.

The Eugenics Society of Canada radio address included in this module demonstrates the eugenics ideas Ontarians were being subjected to in their homes as well as in educational institutions. Two of the addresses, “Tomorrow’s Children” and “The Future of the Race,” were written by Dr. William L. Hutton, who was the Medical Officer of Health in Brantford, President of the Eugenics Society of Canada, and a repeat guest lecturer for Macdonald Institute’s eugenics course in the 1930s.

The audio recordings of these radio addresses are not original recordings. They are an audio reproduction of the original text versions, read by voice actor Dante Jemmott.

It is important to note that healthcare institutions and providers operating in Canada still target First Nations, Black, and other racialized settler women for eugenic (non-therapeutic) sterilization.

Institutions across Canada have systematically targeted Original peoples for sterilization, institutionalization, and elimination. Such efforts to control and curtail lifelines, otherwise known as eugenics, are commonly believed to have started and ended with Nazi Germany. But we know this is not true. Today, efforts to eliminate us continue, including with our missing and murdered women, and the efforts to prevent us from having and caring for our own children. It is systemic racism that leads to the killing of our women by police and health care providers, who are supposed to protect, serve, and help. The legal, healthcare, and education systems continue to diminish and destroy the lives of Original Peoples. Services meant to provide care continue to control, separate, and incarcerate us. ~ Mona Stonefish

In the last few years, several news articles have provided details about how First Nations and racialized settler women continue to experience forced and coerced sterilization, while some are not even informed.4(footnote) Read transcript of one CBC article: Hamilton, Charles and Guy Quenneville, “Report on coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women spurs apology, but path forward unclear.” CBC News. Posted: Jul 27, 2017 10:52 AM CT | Last Updated: July 29, 2017

The Future of the Race: A Series of Radio Addresses

Sponsored by the Eugenics Society of Canada

Tomorrow's Children
The Future of the Race

PDF version

Dante Jemmott - Eugenics and Mass Media

Credits | Transcript

Captioned and ASL Interpreted Video
Described Video Introduction
Described Video
  1. Hutton guest lectured at Macdonald Institute in 1936-37. See Biol.11 – Eugenics Exam, RE1MACA0004, Box 3, Folder 1936-37, University of Guelph McLaughlin Library Archival & Special Collections.

  2. William L Hutton, “A Brief for Sterilization of the Feeble-Minded,” Association of Ontario Mayors, Orillia June 1936, (Source).

  3. Courtesy of University of Waterloo Library. Special Collections & Archives. Parents' Information Bureau fonds. GA_172_4_52b. For the full series of addresses in text form, go to (Source)

  4. First Nations and Black women continue to speak of coercion from doctors, nurses and social workers to undergo surgical sterilization. See:

    1. Charles Hamilton and Guy Quenneville, “Report on Coerced Sterilizations of Indigenous Women Spurs Apology, but Path Forward Unclear,”, Canadian Broadcast Corporation News, July 27, 2017, (Source);
    2. Sylvie Fournier, “Black, Indigenous Mothers Say They Were Sterilized without Full Consent at Quebec Hospitals,”, Canadian Broadcast Corporation News, September 24, 2021, (Source);
    3. Susan Bell “Quebec Indigenous Groups Collecting Stories of Forced Sterilization,”, Canadian Broadcast Corporation News, September 24, 2021, (Source).

  5. Video Credits


    Dominique Ireland (Deaf Interpreter, Connect Interpreting Services), and Debbie Parliament (ASL-English Interpreter, Connect Interpreting Services). ASL video overlay by Aaron Kelly.

    Described Video:

    Writing/ dramaturgy: Kat Germain, Rebecca Singh, Jennifer Brethour

    Consultations: Melanie Marsden, Melissa George-Watson

    Voice Actors: Elder Glenda Klassen, Christine Malec, Colette Desjardins, Scotty Yams

    Sound Engineer: David Stinson

    Slide Credits:

    This project is generously funded by eCampusOntario (ID # GUEL - 564) and University of Guelph’s Learning Enhancement Fund. Ontario Commons Licensing-Non Derivative. Speaker is Dante Jemmott. Original Video Production and Original Score by Angus McClellen. Video Edited and Captioned by Hannah Fowlie. Radio Address Excerpts: The Future of the Race: A Series of Radio Addresses Sponsored by the Eugenics Society of Canada 1938. Radio Address Text Courtesy of the University of Waterloo Special Collections & Archives, Parent’s Information Bureau Fonds. Track #1 “The Future of the Race” Written by W.L. Hutton, M.D. Brantford. Read by Voice Actor Dante Jemmott. Track #2 “World Population Since 1750” Written by W. Burton Hurd. Read by Voice Actor Davinder Malhi. Track #3 “California Sterilization Policy” Written by A.M. Harley & K.C. Brantford Read by Voice Actor Mathew Rossi. Track #4 “German Sterilization Policy” Written by A.M. Harley & K.C. Branford. Read by Voice Actor Reid Miller.


    Toaster Lab, ReVisioning Fitness, eCampusOntario, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life, Guelph Museums, Respecting Rights, Creative Users Projects, ARCH Disability Law Centre, University of Guelph, Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice.