Face to Face looks at ‘structures of indifference’ that continue to devalue Indigenous lives

Ten years after the death of Brian Sinclair, Canada’s institutions continue to fail Indigenous people “by undermining and devaluing Indigenous life” argue co-authors of a new book.

“Structures of Indifference: An Indigenous Life and Death in a Canadian City” is a book about the life and death of Brian Sinclair.

Co-authors and history professors, Mary Jane Logan McCallum and Adele Perry join Host on Face to Face to discuss the book and the ongoing history of colonialism and Indigenous people’s relationship to it.

“This story of a person who by all accounts did the right things” says co-author Adele Perry. “And yet he was repeatedly left in circumstances that ultimately led to his death.”

Sinclair died in September 2008 of a treatable bladder infection after he was left untreated for 34 hours in a Winnipeg emergency room.

“We have these histories of colonialism and racism and racial segregation in our systems that we are inheriting,” says co-author McCallum.

“We see the end result of over and over again, whereby these deaths of these individuals get kind of normalized and then kind of condoned by the state.  It becomes something that’s natural and something that we expect.”

During the writing of the book, the history professors believe there was a “moment of heightened visibility of anti-Indigenous racism, injustice and marginalization.”

“Conversations were happening in a kind of a meaningful and genuine way and then following that we have this spate of incidents that kind of remind us that the world we live in still works in ways that as it very much did with Mr. Sinclair, devalues Indigenous peoples lives” says Perry referring to the recent high profile criminal trials.

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