New graduate fellowships for research in Indigenous health history

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized for the harmful consequences of the government’s forced removal of Inuit to southern institutions for medical treatment in the 1950s and 60s, most Canadians had little understanding of the history, says Maureen Lux.

The Brock University History Professor is hoping her current research will help to change that, and she is offering two Master of Arts (MA) fellowships in 2023-2024 to join her on the ‘Inuit Health and Qallunaat Medicine 1940s -1980s’ project.

“This project will use the analytical tools of gender, race and colonialism to examine the impacts of shifting state policies on health in Inuit Nunangat (traditional lands of the Inuit) from the 1940s to 1980s,” she says.

Qallunaat (western medicine) was central to the ideological and technological processes of colonial control.

“Using archival sources, published Inuit memoirs, biographies, literature, oral history collections and commissions of inquiry, we will critically analyze the history of Inuit health care and Qallunaat medicine in the larger context of the 20th century’s welfare state and the use of medical authority to inform social policy,” says Lux.

The two fellowships are for $10,000 each and are funded through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant. Preference will be given to students with a background in the history of health and Indigenous-settler relations. The deadline for applications to the MA History program is Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Lux researches the history of Indigenous-government relations and the social history of medicine. In 2016, she published Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920-1980, which was recognized by the Canadian Historical Society as the Best Book in the Aboriginal History category in 2017. She recently co-authored Challenging Choices: Canada’s Population Control in the 1970s.

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