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- by Alicia Sylvest

Education comes with growth. When someone corrects me, I love it. This means I can do better and be more inclusive when I speak. What's even cooler than that? Not much, but it's sure something when you can educate and correct yourself.

Have you ever made a comment like "that person should have been sterilized."? 

Have you ever thought "why was that person allowed to reproduce?"?

I know I have, and I did not realize how absolutely problematic this was until I researched Eugenics, Forced Sterilization, and Leilani Muir. Next time you want to make a comment so harmful, remember this post.

Canada has some really gross history. It's actually nauseating.

Did you know that up until 1972, it was still legal to perform forced sterilization on women in Canada? Let me correct myself. Based on statistics, it was forced sterilization of Indigenous Women. We can ultimately thank Darwin's brother for this (a male -surprise surprise), however, we do need to take accountibility for how long Canada allowed this to happen and why.

Let's start here: Eugenics. Eugenics pretty much means that people thought they needed to control the world's population and economy by choosing who was GOOD enough to reproduce. If you didn't fit the criteria, you had no choice but to be sterilized. More often than not, this was done to female children. Now that you know what eugenics is, how do you feel? There's more though. Hold on...

In Canada, if you were not wealthy, educated, or Anglo-Saxon, you were more likely to be chosen for forced sterilization. Basically, if you weren't from money, your IQ wasn't an 'acceptable' number, and you were NOT WHITE.

These surgeries (ahemm - robberies) were performed on disabled female children of culture. Until 19 f***ing 72. That's literally less than 50 years ago. You may actually have family or know someone who was a victim of eugenics.

Now, let's talk about Leilani Muir, one of my new favorite power house women (may she RIP 2016). Leilani was a child victim of forced sterilization because of her IQ level. Her Mother forced her into a lockdown unit of a high level psych hospital and gave all rights over to the staff. Over the years, Leilani completed multiple IQ tests, each time scoring higher and higher. It was too late. By the time she was deemed "smart enough to reproduce", the robbery had already happened.

Leilani took action and sued those responsible for this, breaking way for thousands of Canadian women to follow her steps and receive the only amount of justice they could get.

Thank you Leilani Muir for being the wave crasher who ended forced sterilization in Canada and gave Indigenous Women across Canada the courage to speak out.

Photo: undated,  U of A Faculty of Extension



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