A Way of Life That Does Not Exist: Canada and the Extinguishment of the Innu

A Way of Life That Does Not Exist: Canada and the Extinguishment of the Innu

By: Colin Samson (author)Hardback

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Based on extensive historical research and fieldwork in Labrador over many years, A Way of Life that Does Not Exist brings to light the scale of the tragedies that have overtaken the Innu as the Canadian state, pursuing the policy of assimilation, has sought to extinguish both their uniqueness and their right to the land. In the 1950s and the 1960s the Innu people were prompted by the Canadian authorities to abandon nomadic hunting, the way of life that had made them independent and self-reliant occupants of a vast area of the Sub-Arctic. After they were settled in government-built villages, there was a marked deterioration in the health and vitality of the people. This resulted in the creation of a way of life - neither Innu nor Canadian - 'that does not exist', and it precipitated some of the highest suicide rates in the world, epidemics of gas-sniffing among children, and widespread alcoholism. The scale of the tragedy has attracted many national headlines and continues to give rise to international human rights concerns. Colin Samson looks in detail at Innu relations with the Canadian state, developers, explorers, missionaries, educators, health-care professionals, and the justice system. Although the Innu have lost land and lives in the attempts to assimilate them, Samson demonstrates that many have also resisted the official state policy of "extinguishment" through both political channels and by maintaining a resilient belief in their distinctiveness and their attachment to the land.

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About Author

Colin Samson is a Senior lecturer in Sociology and the Director of American Studies at the University of Essex in Colchester, England. He has written and researched in the areas of Native American studies, medical sociology, and cultural studies.

Product Details

  • publication date: 02/06/2003
  • ISBN13: 9781859845257
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 386
  • ID: 9781859845257
  • weight: 767
  • ISBN10: 1859845258

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