"For the Good of the Child": The Colonial Machinations of Child Welfare in Canada


  • Nathan Sunday University of Alberta Aboriginal Student Council




Although residential schools no longer exist today, the systems of oppression which allowed them to operate continue. These systems have existed non-linearly throughout time, as the past, present, and future effects of colonialism intersect in the lives of First Nations. The spiritual successor of the residential school project can be viewed in many contemporary structures; specifically, in the institutionalized violence accumulated within the child welfare system. In this paper, I argue that the contemporary child welfare system in Canada, as it relates to both on- and off-reserve First Nations children, is the modern-day successor of the Indian Residential School System. Specifically, the strategies of racialization and subalternation underpinning the colonial machine, and exemplified within the residential school system, have surreptitiously reformed into the child welfare system.