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    Opinion Social Policy

    The trouble with remoteness

    People have to move sometimes.

    -Jean Chretien, former Prime Minister of Canada

    In recent months, school shootings in La Loche and youth suicides in Attawapiskat have focused attention on the state of Indigenous communities in Northern Canada, prompting a prime ministerial visit, an emergency debate in Parliament, and plenty of video footage shot by camera crews far from the urban landscapes where they usually do their work.

    In each case, the spotlight was brief, and the solutions seemingly as elusive as the situations were urgent. Communities with complex histories and power structures were introduced by single adjectives: “isolated” or, more often, “remote.” As if those words explained almost everything.

    The pathological treatments of remoteness quickly followed.

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