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Fighting for A Hand to Hold

Confronting Medical Colonialism against Indigenous Children in Canada

By Samir Shaheen-Hussain

Foreword by Cindy Blackstock

Afterword by Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel

Fighting for A Hand to Hold exposes the Canadian medical establishment’s role in the displacement, colonization, and genocide of Indigenous Peoples — colonial genocide. Through meticulously gathered government documentation, historical scholarship, media reports, public inquiries, and personal testimonies, Samir Shaheen-Hussain connects the draconian medevac practice with often-disregarded crimes committed against and medical violence inflicted upon Indigenous children across the country for more than a century and a half: fomented smallpox epidemics and avoidable tuberculosis deaths; experiments and abuse in residential schools, Indian Hospitals, reserves, and communities; forced sterilization; child abduction and disappearances.

This devastating history and ongoing medical colonialism prevent Indigenous communities from attaining internationally recognized measures of health and social well-being because of a pervasive culture of systemic anti-Indigenous racism that persists in the Canadian public health care system— and in capitalist settler society at large. This book draws on the innovative work of Indigenous scholars and activists to conclude that a broader decolonization struggle calling for reparations, restitution (including land reclamation), and self-determination for Indigenous Peoples is critical to achieve reconciliation in Canada.

Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press
(Indigenous and Northern Studies series)

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