Abstract

Abstract:

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the French colonial government in Indochina and the settler colonial nations of the United States, Australia, and Canada all engaged in the systematic removal of Indigenous and/or mixed-race children from their families. All four governments placed the children in institutions that were meant to sever ties to their home communities, re-educate and assimilate them, and then slot them into particular roles in the colonial social order. By comparing child removal programs in these four colonial contexts, we contend that diverse colonial administrations used child removal as a key strategy of governance to address various political and demographic problems. In the settler colonial nations, child removal functioned primarily as a means of eliminating Indigenous identities, cultures, and land claims. In Indochina, the French carried out child removal to create a French colonial elite that would reside permanently in the colony. This comparative approach reveals significant insight into colonial practices, including authorities' preoccupation with intimate family lives and children's upbringing, how officials and reformers turned to benevolent discourses to describe violent and coercive practices, how Indigenous women suffered from particular vilification, and how authorities removed Indigenous and/or mixed-race children to manage racial dynamics. The article particularly demonstrates the value of collaborative and comparative scholarship.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 529-562
Launched on MUSE
2019-05-31
Open Access
No
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