The Legacy of Nutritional Experiments in Residential Schools

Shortly after WWII, when knowledge about nutrition was still sparse, scientists in Canada took advantage of already malnourished aboriginal communities by using them as research subjects to investigate the effects of different diets and dietary supplements. Evidence of these government-run experiments was brought to the forefront by food historian and UBC History alumnus Ian Mosby, and the research has gained widespread recognition. Sometimes the experiments involved decreasing food intake or withholding supplements. Hundreds of indigenous people across Canada were included in the experiments, of which they had no knowledge, and many of them were children in the Indian Residential School system.

The fallout from this unethical treatment is still having an effect today. The panel discusses this distressing era in Canadian history as well as how UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems  is working to address issues such as access to healthy, traditional food; food security for all; and land stewardship.

In partnership with the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, with support from the UBC First Nations House of Learning, the UBC Department of History and Kloshe Tillicum (Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research).

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