As if the legacy of Canadian residential schools wasn’t enough; a sickening new chapter in this horror story has surfaced. In 1942 researchers visiting native reservations in northern Manitoba reported malnourished populations. Rather than move to improve conditions, the Canadian government funded research on malnutrition using these “captive” test subjects.
Ian Mosby from the University of Guelph discovered “vague references to studies conducted on Indians” while researching documents for development of health policy in Canada.It seems the government conducted experiments into the need for vitamins, jumping on the opportunity to use already malnourished children as test subjects. Aboriginal children across the country were “starved” to create a “baseline” for changes that occurred when proper nutrition became available. The first experiment in 1942 was conducted on 300 residents of Norway House Cree, 125 were given vitamin supplements. At the time residents survived on 1500 calories a day – well under the 2000 calories recommended to maintain body weight. By 1947 tests were being conducted at residential school children across the country. Children had milk rations cut in half – at one school for 2 years before increasing it to normal, and documenting their findings. Some schools gave half the children supplements of vitamins, iron, and iodine; another school withheld vitamin B1 to create a baseline for when it was added. Yet another school gave no supplements and minimal food to create a baseline. Regardless of school – dental care was denied as researchers felt it would muddy baselines.
Anyone who doesn’t know about Canada’s residential school shame should read this post….
I can’t say this story shocks me, history has proven it sucks to be an aboriginal person of any country.My ponder lies more with the hope my government does the right thing by acknowledging how messed up our thinking was. Stephen Harper needs to “man up” and start dealing with simmering anger from our aboriginal population.