Then the Whites Came and Made Us Indians: Law, Categorization, Technologies of Governance, and the Criminalization of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada
Wednesday, April 12th, 2017
12:30 – 2 pm
Mackintosh Corry Hall Room D411
In 1953 a man holding the position of “Indian Councillor” stood up to a provincial government envoy saying; “We were the first settlers on this continent. Then, the whites came and made us Indians.” This short statement eloquently summaries the result of the complexity of legal policy and invasive surveillance programs that had targeted First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples over the course of two centuries. It expresses how the imposed category of “Indian” came to construct, and worked to criminalize, a cultural understanding and identity for these peoples. Drawing on historical archival documents and current ATIP releases regarding government surveillance programs in Canada, this project investigates how a diverse group of peoples and cultures were historically made to be “Indians,” and how this contributed, and continues to contribute, to the criminalization and development of negative cultural understandings and stereotypes of Aboriginal people, Indigenous beliefs and knowledge systems in Canada.
Scott Thompson is an Assistant Pofessor at the University of Saskatchewan. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Surveillance Studies at Queen’s University after completing his doctoral degree at the University of Alberta in Sociology. Dr. Thompson’s research focuses on the relationship between policing, classification, governance and surveillance technologies. His work has been featured in numerous scholarly journals and edited volumes and he coauthored (with Dr. Gary Genosko) his first book Punched Drunk: Alcohol, Surveillance and the LCBO 1927–1975 (www.puncheddrunk.ca).