Colonizing Bodies: Aboriginal Health and Healing in British Columbia, 1900-50

Synopsis

Using postmodern and postcolonial conceptions of the body and the power relations of colonization, Kelm shows how a pluralistic medical system evolved among Canada's most populous Aboriginal population. She explores the effect which Canada's Indian policy has had on Aboriginal bodies and considers how humanitarianism and colonial medicine were used to pathologize Aboriginal bodies and institute a regime of doctors, hospitals, and field matrons, all working to encourage assimilation. In this detailed but highly readable ethnohistory, Kelm reveals how Aboriginal people were able to resist and alter these forces in order to preserve their own cultural understanding of their bodies, disease, and medicine.