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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Colonizing Bodies

Aboriginal Health and Healing in British Columbia, 1900-50

Using postmodern and postcolonial conceptions of the body and the power relations of colonization, Kelm shows how a pluralistic medical system evolved among Canada’s most populous Aboriginal population. She explores the effect which Canada’s Indian policy has had on Aboriginal bodies and considers how humanitarianism and colonial medicine were used to pathologize Aboriginal bodies and institute a regime of doctors, hospitals, and field matrons, all working to encourage assimilation. In this detailed but highly readable ethnohistory, Kelm reveals how Aboriginal people were able to resist and alter these forces in order to preserve their own cultural understanding of their bodies, disease, and medicine.

272 pages

Table of Contents


Illustrations, Figures, and Tables



Part 1: Health

1 The Impact of Colonization on Aboriginal Health in British Columbia: Overview

2 “My People Are Sick. My Young Men Are Angry”: The Impact of Colonization on Aboriginal Diet and Nutrition

3 “Running Out of Spaces”: Sanitation and Environment in Aboriginal Habitations

4 A “Scandalous Procession”: Residential Schooling and the Reformation of Aboriginal Bodies

5 Aboriginal Conceptions of the Body, Disease, and Medicine

Part 2: Healing

6 Acts of Humanity: Indian Health Services

7 Doctors, Hospitals, and Field Matrons: On the Ground with Indian Health Services

8 Medical Pluralism in Aboriginal Communities



A Note on Sources

Select Bibliography

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