• Harper must acknowledge ‘horrors’ of experiments done on hungry aboriginal children: AFN
Jul 22, 2013
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A nurse takes a blood sample from a boy at the Indian School, Port Alberni, B.C., in 1948, during the time when nutritional experiments were being conducted on students there and five other residential schools.
A nurse takes a blood sample from a boy at the Indian School, Port Alberni, B.C., in 1948, during the time when nutritional experiments were being conducted on students there and five other residential schools.

 

The head of Canada’s largest aboriginal group says Prime Minister Stephen Harper must acknowledge the “horrors” of nutritional experiments once done on hungry children by increasing support for native child welfare.

Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations said research showing that at least 1,300 already-hungry children and adults were part of the experiments was driving an emergency resolution at the organization’s annual meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon, on Wednesday.

“We’re going to call on the prime minister to give effect to the words that he spoke when he said: ‘The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long. The burden is properly ours as a government,”’ Atleo said in reference to Harper’s 2008 apology for residential schools.

The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long

A paper by University of Guelph food historian Ian Mosby detailed tests conducted between 1942 and 1952 on northern Manitoba reserves and at six residential schools across the country.

Well aware that the children and adults were hungry and living on starvation-level diets, the researchers chose to use them as unwitting subjects for tests on the effects of nutritional supplements instead of recommending they be properly fed.

Mosby found that vitamins and minerals were provided to some and not to others. Milk rations at one school were deliberately held below recommended levels. An enriched flour that couldn’t legally be sold elsewhere in Canada under food adulteration laws was distributed.