UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

City planning for extinction : eugenics, anti-Indigeneity, and the haunted city-organism in North Vancouver, 1903-1940 Facknitz, Hannah Sullivan


This thesis argues that settler-colonial governments in early twentieth-century North Vancouver used public health measures and urban planning policies in conjunction as a means of not only dispossessing Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh people of their land and their lives, but also of seeing such dispossession and death as inevitable. Through the careful study of archival materials, other primary sources, and secondary literature, I examine the intersecting effects of the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for the Province of British Columbia (colloquially known as the McKenna-McBride Commission, or MMC) and the City of Vancouver and North Vancouver's health policies regarding the highly infectious disease tuberculosis, which, like today, remains deadly for underserved populations. The MMC sought to contest Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh title to reserve land on the North Shore, and as part of doing so, actively neglected healthcare provisions for Indigenous people living on reserve, and as an integral part of healthcare messaging, positioned Indigenous people as inherently vulnerable to disease. With an analysis rooted in critical disability studies, I argue that by letting an active planning for Indigenous extinction become a fundamental part of public health, education, urban, cultural, political, social, and economic planning in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Canada more broadly, we (settlers and our ancestors) allow(ed) assumptions of inevitable death pervade our individualistic, neoliberal society, which we continue to see reflected in our current crises around housing, land use and Indigenous sovereignty, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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