It was General Philip Sheridan who said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." In Canada, we like to think that our history is not as savage as that of the United States. But a study from the University of Guelph puts the lie to that sop. Our government backed a scientific experiment to study the affect of starvation on first nations people.
Phil Fontaine, Michael Dan an Bernie Farber write in The Toronto Star:
It is time for Canadians to face the sad truth. Canada engaged in a deliberate policy of attempted genocide against First Nations people. And the starvation experiments were only the first of a litany of similar such attempts to control, delegitimize and, yes, even annihilate First Nations to suit the needs of a growing Dominion.
These "nutrition experiments" were carried out in residential schools. It wasn't the first time that science -- or the lack of it -- was used against first nations people. The authors write that in 1907, Dr. Pete Bryce, Canada's first Chief Medical Officer, told his superiors in Ottawa that:
Canada’s aboriginal people in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan were being “decimated by tuberculosis and that the federal government possessed the means to stop it.” Instead, it chose a such minimalist approach that, in the medical opinion of Dr. Bryce, it “amounted to almost nothing.”
The government of the day sought to hide Bryce’s findings from the general public and chose to bury the report and relieve Bryce of his duties. This had the effect of ensuring that no real steps would be taken to help save the lives of natives on reserves and in residential schools from the ravages of this disease. Indeed, Bryce was so frustrated that in the end he charged that “the government’s treatment of it’s aboriginal peoples amounted to nothing less than an infuriating and criminal disregard to the country’s Treaty pledges.”
In Canada, we sweep what is inconvenient or unpleasant under the rug. We can no longer do that. Former prime minister Paul Martin called these nutrition experiments "monstrous." Conditions on Canadian reserves have been monstrous for a long time.