Deathscapes

State Violence, Forced Child Removals and DIC 4b - Settler law as violence against Indigenous women

Deathscapes

Settler law as violence against Indigenous women

[imagecaption] ‘Mother’, 2016. Photo: Michael Cook. [/imagecaption]

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The laws of the settler state position Indigenous women as different to both Indigenous men and non-Indigenous women. Eileen Baldry and Chris Cunneen note that while both Aboriginal men and women were ‘governed by various aspects of 19th century protection legislation … Aboriginal women were also subjected to colonial patriarchal control by being locked up in disproportionate numbers in women’s ‘factories’ and in mental asylums and punished further by having their children removed’. Later, ‘The removal of Indigenous children in the early part of the 20th century relied on views that Indigenous parenting was negligent and, in particular, that Indigenous female sexuality was a threat that needed to be controlled by targeting pubescent girls’ (Baldry and Cunneen 285).

These remain factors in the rates of forced child removals, which continue to increase exponentially today. Despite the placement principle that requires Indigenous children to be first placed with family, as a second option with an Aboriginal community member, as a third option with another Aboriginal person, and, as a final option, with a non-Aboriginal person, increasingly children are being placed in culturally inappropriate placements in the first instance.

 


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