“The Meaning of Mount McKay: Settler Colonial Reterritorialization in Thunder Bay, ON”

Journal: Histoire Sociale/Social History, Vol. 36, No. 16: pp. 281-304. 


This article interrogates the settler colonial history of Thunder Bay through place names and argues that gendered forms of anti-Indigenous violence are part of the city’s social architecture. Between 1860 and 1910, settlers produced vast amounts of wealth and built a local industrial economy founded upon land-based resources such as silver, timber, and shale; at the same time, settlers forcefully relocated Anishnaabe peoples to multiple reserve sites, prevented them from participating in the emergent industrial economy, and used their sacred mountain as a quarry for brick-making and as a stop-butt for a settler rifle range. The article deploys the concept of settler colonial reterritorialization to critique the ways in which this history has been sanctioned and celebrated through local place names such as Mount McKay, Fort William, Port Arthur, and Simpson Street. Ultimately, I show that the material violence of enfolding the land and its resources into an exploitative and exclusive settler colonial economy emerged in tandem with the power to name the land in honour of white men who played primary roles in that very violent historical process.

“Foreclosing Accountability: Racism and Colonialism in Ontario’s Courtrooms, 2007-2017”

Journal: Canadian Review of Social Policy, Vol. 78: pp. 1-24.


Between 2000 and 2011 seven students from First Nation communities across northern Ontario lost their lives while attending high school in Thunder Bay. These losses of Indigenous life became the subject of a joint provincial inquest that concluded in the summer of 2016. In this article the author offers a critical examination of the scope of this inquest as well as a broader chronological review of its proceedings. The focus is on the ways in which the presiding coroner shaped the scope of the inquest to include things like the alcohol consumption of the students and to exclude things like the quality of police investigations. The issue of First Nation Jury Representation and its role in delaying the inquest for several years is also contextualized. Ultimately, it is argued that the Seven Youth Inquest conforms closely to what Sherene Razack (2011; 2015) has written about the colonial function of inquests into the deaths of Indigenous peoples: mainly that such proceedings stage decontextualized narratives of First Nation dysfunction that are hostile to structural analysis and unlikely to animate opportunities for institutional accountability. Finally, it is argued that non-Indigenous coroners – who are trained in forensic pathology but lack training in federal Indian policy, treaty rights, and Indigenous histories – are unqualified to preside over provincial inquests into the deaths of First Nation people. In fact, this training (or lack thereof) may facilitate setting woefully limited scopes and therefore reproducing victim-blaming of First Nation youth in Canadian courtrooms.

“Dr. Peter Bryce: Whistleblower on Residential Schools”

w/ Cindy Blackstock and Mike Kirlew

Journal: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 192 (9)

Link to Full-Text: https://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/9/E223

“The Invention of ‘Aboriginal Diabetes’: The Role of the Thrifty Gene Hypothesis in Canadian Healthcare Provision”

Journal: Ethnicity and Disease, Vol. 28 [2018]: pp. 247-252.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to analyze the extent to which the ‘thrifty gene hypothesis’ remains embedded within regimes of Canadian health care. The thrifty gene hypothesis, formulated by the American geneticist and travelling scientist James V. Neel in 1962, proposed that Indigenous peoples were genetically predisposed to Type 2 diabetes due to the foodways of their ancestors. The hypothesis was functionally racist and based on what biological anthropologists now call ‘the myth of forager food insecurity.’ Importantly, Neel reconsidered his own hypothesis in 1982 before he ultimately rejected it in 1999; nonetheless, in the mid-1990s, a team of Canadian scientists led by the endocrinologist Robert Hegele of Western University conducted a genetic study on the OjiCree community of Sandy Lake First Nation in northern Ontario. Thereafter, Hegele told the academic world and news media that he had discovered a thrifty gene in Sandy Lake. Like Neel, Hegele later came to reject his own study in 2011. Nonetheless, the ‘thrifty gene hypothesis’ and Hegele’s Sandy Lake study continue to be cited, referenced, and reproduced in the current Clinical Guidelines of the Canadian Diabetes Association, as well as across state-related health literature more broadly. The purpose of this study, then, will be to apply the PHCRP to the thrifty gene hypothesis in a Canadian context.

“Settling the Table: Northern Food Subsidy Programs and the (Re)Colonisation of Indigenous Bodies”

w/ Kristin Burnett and Lori Chambers

Journal: Critical Race and Whiteness Studies: The White Man’s Burden After Race, Vol. 11, No. 1. 18

Full-Text Link: http://www.acrawsa.org.au/ejournal/

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