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The Biopolitics of Indigenous Reproduction: Colonial Discourse and the Overrepresentation of Indigenous Children in the Canadian Child Welfare System
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From its inception, Canada's 'Indian policy' has sought to undermine the bond between indigenous children and their communities. Each era has seen a new reason and corresponding tactic to remove indigenous children. They have been institutionalized in residential schools, placed in foster homes, provincial 'care' facilities, and adopted by Euro-Canadian families. While it is widely accepted that the forceful removal of indigenous children during the residential school era and the "Sixties Scoop" was a colonial strategy, contemporary child welfare practices seem to escape the same scrutiny. This seems to be the case even though indigenous children continue to be removed en masse and are vastly overrepresented in the Canadian child welfare system. Indeed, there are more indigenous children in 'care' today than ever before in Canadian history, including the residential school era and following the "Sixties Scoop". Given these trends the colonial effect of contemporary child welfare practices seems evident. This project thus seeks to problematize child welfare practices in relation to indigenous peoples. In particular, it is the aim of this thesis to shed light on some of the narratives that underlie these practices. Through a critical discourse analysis this thesis illuminates how news media in Alberta and Manitoba disseminate controlling images of indigenous peoples and their children. I argue that the discourses in both provinces normalize the removal of indigenous children while naturalizing colonial control.