Simulated Domesticities: Settings for Colonial Assimilation in Mid-Twentieth-Century Canada // RACAR

Domestic spaces have long served as sites of encounter between Indigenous Peoples and colonial powers. Under colonial conditions, the home can become a refuge, but also a site of oppressive state intervention in the most intimate details of daily life. In settler-colonial states such as Canada, where access to Indigenous territories and the large-scale replacement of Indigenous Peoples with settler populations constitute key governing logics, settler domesticities replace Indigenous patterns of dwelling. For settlers, settler architecture on colonized Indigenous lands becomes normal and thus unremarkable. Settlers thereafter construe Indigenous spaces as foreign and in need of “domestication.” This process of architectural replacement exemplifies the pervasiveness, and thus invisibility, of settler colonialism as a formation of power expressed in the built environment.

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Image: Cover of Small House Designs (1957) and Canadian Indian Homes (1959). Reproduced from Small House Designs (Ottawa: Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1957) and Canadian Indian Homes (Ottawa: Indian Affairs Branch, Department of Citizenship & Immigration, 1959). Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC); and Library and Archives Canada/Richard Albert Bell fonds/Vol. 97, file 8, Policy and Case
Files—Housing – “Canadian Indian Homes”—Brochure, 1959.