Directions, the Canadian Race Relation’s journal, provides community-based, action-oriented research, commentary, and perspectives on eliminating racism and discrimination.
In this month’s Directions David MacDonald and Jacqueline Gillis identify and interrogate Canadian institutions which have sought, by physical and internal means, to render Indigenous bodies less threatening to white mainstream and normal society.
For seven generations, the Canadian settler state sought to take Indigenous children from their parents and home communities, to a network of residential schools, where the goal of the state and the four main Christian churches was to destroy all that was Indigenous in these children. A key state purpose was to make Indigenous peoples disappear, along with their sovereign rights to land, language, spirituality, and governance. As this system wound down, Indigenous children were forced into foster and institutional ‘care’, a process known as the ‘60s Scoop’. These forms of child incarceration are linked to extremely high rates of Indigenous imprisonment in Canada’s settler colonial justice system. In this article we deploy Michel Foucault’s understanding of biopower to explore the history and intent behind the Indian Residential Schools (IRS) system, the 60s Scoop, and the prison system in Canada.
David B MacDonald is professor of political science, and the research leadership chair for his college, at the University of Guelph, Canada. He has written three books related to issues on comparative Indigenous politics, genocide studies, and the politics of memory, as well as numerous book chapters and articles. His books include Thinking History, Fighting Evil (Lexington/Rowman & Littlefield), and Identity Politics in the Age of Genocide (Routledge).His work is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He has also been a faculty member at the University of Otago and the Graduate School of Management –Paris.
Jacqueline Gillis is a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph. Her research explores the facilitators and barriers to the integration of Indigenous traditional knowledges in climate change adaptation strategies within the Canadian context.
The Directions journal serves as an important piece of the CRRF’s mission to strengthen Canadian values and build a united Canadian community. In the past, Directions was produced in a traditional journal format; previously unpublished articles, selected based on a central theme, were passed through an editorial board, peer review, and translation. The final product was a printed journal that could be either purchased or freely accessed in PDF format online. In recent months, we changed our parameters to the following:
The theme for the 2018 issue is Race Relations in the 21st Century: Challenges and Solutions. We welcome submissions that focus on the ways in which communities relate, combine, ally or find themselves in opposition. What are the most effective ways in which we can work together? What are the impediments to respectful and productive relationships? While there is much focus on the value of apology and reconciliation, is there an argument be made (to use the title of David Rieff’s book) in praise of forgetting? Are we, as Canadians, too polite to engage in the hard conversations necessary to take us past interfaith and intercommunal sharing of diet, dress and dance?
We look forward to receiving your experiences, best practices and even glorious failures. We hope you will share what you have learned.