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ARCHIVED - Framing Canada:
A Photographic Memory

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Aboriginal Peoples

Gallery - Assimilation and Control of Home

The majority of these photographs were taken during a period when European racial ideology maintained that all humans could be ranked according to a natural evolutionary scale. Social Darwinists commonly believed that Aboriginal people were less developed than their White counterparts and therefore needed to be helped in order to become modern and self-sufficient members of the new societies in which they lived. However, "help" included policies of forced assimilation, the culturally devastating reserve system and constant pressures to conform to the codes of White society. Government agencies as well as individuals eagerly photographed all of these processes to monitor the progress of Aboriginal reform.

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