Arctic Assimilation: Settler Colonialism And Racialization In The Canadian Arctic And Carlisle Indian Industrial School
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Isolate and Assimilate: Settler Colonialism in the Canadian ArcticPrevious generations of Canadian historians have focused on welfare when examining the twenty-first century colonization of the territory of Nunavut. Patrick Wolfe’s theory of settler colonialism, on the other hand, presents a form of colonialism that allows for examination through a more cultural-centric lens, while still recognizing the exploitation of economics for purposes of assimilation. Using government reports, Truth and Reconciliation Committee findings, and first-hand accounts from local Inuit, this paper takes Wolfe’s theory and analyzes how his idea of “logics of elimination” were exemplified in the Canadian government’s actions after the 1930s. The “going away” focus of settler colonialism appeared in both the physical and cultural sense within methods used by the government and the RCMP. Physical logics of elimination occurred in projects such as the various High Arctic Relocations and the building of settlements, used for the purposes of showing sovereignty and effective occupation in the north. Cultural logics of elimination took the form of actions like wildlife and game management laws, the slaughter of sled dogs, residential schools, disc numbers, Project Surname, and healthcare removal. All the above elements are examined within the paper to showcase how the theory of settler colonialism can and should be used to examine the history of the Canadian Arctic. Arctic Dislocation: Racialization and Assimilation of Inupiat and Yup’ik Students at Carlisle Indian Industrial SchoolOpened in 1879 by Richard Henry Pratt, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the blueprint for the system of government-run off-reservation residential schools in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Over ten-thousand children would attend the school by the time it closed. Among them were seventeen students, taken from thousands of miles away in Alaska, intended by Pratt to act as examples of how effective Carlisle’s assimilation project could be. In the process of assimilation, their tribal identities were erased, and the students were instead recorded as “Eskimo;” no mention of them being Inupiat and Yup’ik exists in the archives for Carlisle. Although Carlisle has generated an extensive historiography, scholars have neglected these students and their unique circumstances, and no one had bothered to attempt to discover where they came from. This paper rectifies this, examining these students and their lives through their student files, newspaper articles, letters, and other primary sources from their time at Carlisle. This paper analyzes assimilation, renaming, before-and-after photography, and the cemetery at Carlisle to showcase how these students were racialized, not just as “Indian” but also as “Eskimo” and “Alaskan.”
© The Author
Kramer, Samantha, "Arctic Assimilation: Settler Colonialism And Racialization In The Canadian Arctic And Carlisle Indian Industrial School" (2022). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. William & Mary. Paper 1673281787.