Theses Doctoral

Waging Care in Anishnabe Aki: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake and Sixties Scoop Diasporas Against Canada's Economy of Indigenous Child Removal

Kristjansson, Margaux L.

This dissertation proceeds from the Algonquins of Barriere Lake’s enactments of Indigenous law as a praxis of care against colonial systems that commoditize Anishnabe children and land. It emerges from a co-designed nation and community-specific ethnographic and archival study with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to analyze the Youth Protection system, and a co-designed ethnographic and archival project with the Ottawa-based Sixties Scoop Network on healing, displacement, and reparations for the 60s Scoop. Through using the land, Barriere Lake maintain their sacred connections to animals, ancestors and water. This dissertation thinks care in three registers: as Anishnabe ‘physical, emotional and spiritual’ relations of care on land, as daily assertions of Indigenous legal praxis, and as critiques of settler political economy.

In November 2015, members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake rallied at the offices of the CISSSO, a Quebec Youth Protection agency in Maniwaki, Quebec that has placed 147 children from their 792-person First Nation into out of home care since 1990. Barriere Lake mothers held signs asserting “Our children are not commodities.” Throughout the fall of 2015, the community held a camp to protect their lands from exploratory drilling by the junior mining company Copper One; a sign declaring ‘This land is not for sale.’ As CISSSO (2019) secures nearly $2 million annually by taking Barriere Lake children from their kin settler industries extract over $100 million in resources from Barriere Lake’s territories. Canada’s genocidal church-run, state-mandated Residential Schools system was instituted as the nascent nation began to create its wealth and home from Native lands and resources. Between 1951-1991 (the Sixties Scoop), over 22 500 Indigenous children were removed from their kin into predominantly non-native homes (Brown v Canada 2017). In 2016, Canada’s national resources sector accounted for $216 billion; while in 2018 the child welfare system generated $2.5 billion and billions more in family stipends and allowances from a system in which over 52.5% of children are Indigenous (StatsCan 2016, 2018).

The gendered fiscal and libidinal economies of Canadian colonialism incentivize the apprehension of Indigenous children and criminalize Indigenous caregivers, especially mothers (2016 CHRT 2). By examining how present systems reproduce the gendered violence of child-taking and abuse systematized in Residential Schools, this dissertation argues that Canada securitizes its economy of extraction from Indigenous lands through the mass abduction of Indigenous children into the child welfare system. Algonquin Anishnabeg jurisdiction is asserted as a praxis of care which, waged daily along with Sixties Scoop survivor struggles for justice, unwinds the fabric of a system of child-taking and land-theft.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Simpson, Audra
Povinelli, Elizabeth A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 3, 2021