Civilized Food

When the civilized food of intruding Europeans is introduced to native indigenous lands changing a nutritional revolution for the worse. This typically means white flour, sugar, corn, rice, cooking seed oils, and alcohol.

Civilized Food

Recent History

January 1, 1885

Functional Dyspepsia (Atonic Dyspepsia, Indigestion).


The dietary treatment of dyspepsia was described: the diet, for instance, of bodily labor should consist largely of digestible nitrogenous food, and meat, par excellence, should be increased in proportion as muscular exercise is increased.



Functional Dyspepsia (Atonic Dyspepsia, Indigestion).

As a rule, the food should be such as will require the least possible exertion on the part of the stomach. Raw vegetables should be forbidden; pastries, fried dishes, and all rich and greasy compounds should be eschewed; and whatever food be taken should be eaten slowly and well masticated. Many patients digest animal better than vegetable food. Tender brown meats, plainly but well cooked, such as beef, mutton, and game, are to be preferred. Lightly-cooked mutton is more digestible than beef, pork, or lamb, and roast beef is more digestible than boiled. Pork and veal and salted and preserved meats are comparatively indigestible. Bread should never be eaten hot or fresh—better be slightly stale—and bread made from the whole meal is better than that made from the mere starchy part of the grain. Milk and eggs and well-boiled rice are of special value.

But to all these general dietetic rules there may be exceptions growing out of the peculiarities of individual cases. These should be carefully studied. The aged, for obvious reasons, require less food than the young; the middle-aged, inclined to obesity and troubled with feeble digestion, should avoid potatoes, sweets, and fatty substances and spirituous liquors; persons suffering from functional derangements of the liver should be put, for a time, on the most restricted regimen; while, on the contrary, the illy fed and badly-nourished require the most nutritious food that can be digested with comfort to the patient.

To these general predisposing causes may be added indigestion occurring in febrile states of the system. The cause here is obvious. In all general febrile conditions the secretions are markedly disturbed; the tongue is dry and furred; the urine is scanty; the excretions lessened; the bowels constipated; and the appetite gone. The nervous system also participates in the general disturbance. In this condition the gastric juice is changed both quantitatively and qualitatively, and digestion, as a consequence, becomes weak and imperfect—a fact that should be taken into account in regulating the diet of febrile patients. From mere theoretical considerations there can be no doubt that fever patients are often overfed. To counteract the relatively increased tissue-metamorphosis known to exist, and the consequent excessive waste, forced nutrition is frequently resorted to. Then the traditional saying of the justly-celebrated Graves, that he fed fevers, has also rendered popular the practice. Within certain bounds alimentation is undoubtedly an important part of the treatment of all the essential forms of fever. But if more food is crowded upon the stomach than can be digested and assimilated, it merely imposes a burden instead of supplying a want. The excess of food beyond the digestive capacity decomposes, giving rise to fetid gases, and often to troublesome intestinal complications. The true mode of restoring strength in such cases is to administer only such quantities of food as the patient is capable of digesting and assimilating. To this end resort has been had to food in a partially predigested state, such as peptonized milk, milk gruel, soups, jellies, and beef-tea; and clinical experience has thus far shown encouraging results from such nutrition in the management of general fevers. In these febrile conditions, and in all cases of general debility, the weak digestion does not necessarily involve positive disease of the stomach, for by regulating the diet according to the digestive capacity healthy digestion may be obtained for an indefinite time.

Exhaustion of the nerves of organic life strongly predisposes to the atonic forms of dyspepsia. We have already seen how markedly the digestive process is influenced by certain mental states, and it is a well-recognized fact that the sympathetic system of nerves is intimately associated with all the vegetative functions of the body. Without a certain amount of nervous energy derived from this portion of the nervous system, there is failure of the two most important conditions of digestion—viz. muscular movements of the stomach and healthy secretion of gastric juice. This form of indigestion is peculiar to [p. 441]the ill-fed and badly-nourished. It follows in the wake of privation and want, and is often seen in the peculiarly careworn and sallow classes who throng our public dispensaries. In this dyspepsia of exhaustion the solvent power of the stomach is so diminished that if food is forced upon the patient it is apt to be followed by flatulence, headache, uneasy or painful sensations in the stomach, and sometimes by nausea and diarrhoea. It is best treated by improving in every possible way the general system of nutrition, and by adapting the food, both in quantity and quality, to the enfeebled condition of the digestive powers. Hygienic measures are also of great importance in the management of this form of dyspepsia, and especially such as restore the lost energy of the nervous system. If it occur in badly-nourished persons who take little outdoor exercise, the food should be adapted to the feeble digestive power. It should consist for a time largely of milk and eggs, oatmeal, peptonized milk gruels, stale bread; to which should be added digestible nitrogenous meat diet in proportion to increased muscular exercise. Systematic outdoor exercise should be insisted upon as a sine quâ non. Much benefit may be derived from the employment of electric currents, and hydrotherapy has also given excellent results. If the indigestion occur in the badly-fed outdoor day-laborer, his food should be more generous and mixed. It should consist largely, however, of digestible nitrogenous food, and meat, par excellence, should be increased in proportion to the exercise taken. Medicinally, such cases should be treated on general principles. Benefit may be derived from the mineral acids added to simple bitters, or in cases of extreme nervous prostration small doses of nux vomica are a valuable addition to dilute hydrochloric acid. The not unfrequent resort to phosphorus in such cases is of more than doubtful utility. Some interesting contributions have been recently made to this subject of gastric neuroses by Buchard, Sée, and Mathieu. Buchard claims that atonic dilatation of the stomach is a very frequent result of an adynamic state of the general system. He compares it to certain forms of cardiac dilatation—both expressions of myasthenia. It may result from profound anæmia or from psychical causes. Mathieu regards mental depression as only second in frequency. Much stress is laid upon poisons generated by fermenting food in the stomach in such cases. It may cause a true toxæmia, just as renal diseases give rise to uræmia. Of course treatment in such cases must be addressed principally to the general constitution.

But of all predisposing causes of dyspepsia, deficient gastric secretion, with resulting fermentation of food, is perhaps the most prevalent. It is true this deficient secretion may be, and often is, a secondary condition; many causes contribute to its production; but still, the practical fact remains that the immediate cause of the indigestion is disproportion between the quantity of gastric juice secreted and the amount of food taken into the stomach. In all such cases we have what is popularly known as torpidity of digestion, and the condition described is that of atony of the stomach. The two main constituents of gastric juice—namely, acid and pepsin—may be deficient in quantity or disturbed in their relative proportions. A certain amount of acid is absolutely essential to the digestive process, while a small amount of pepsin may be sufficient to digest a large amount of albuminoid food. [p. 442]Pure unmixed gastric juice was first analyzed by Bidder and Schmidt. The mean analyses of ten specimens free from saliva, procured from dogs, gave the following results:

Lack of the normal amount of the gastric secretion must be met by restoring the physiological conditions upon which the secretion depends. In the mean time, hydrochloric and lactic acids may be tried for the purpose of strengthening the solvent powers of the gastric secretion.

EXCITING CAUSES.—The immediate causes of dyspepsia are such as act more directly on the stomach. They embrace all causes which produce conditions of gastric catarrh, such as excess in eating and drinking, imperfect mastication and insalivation, the use of indigestible or unwholesome food and of alcohol, the imperfect arrangement of meals, over-drugging, etc.

Of exciting causes, errors of diet are amongst the most constantly operative, and of these errors excess of food is doubtless the most common. The influence of this as an etiological factor in derangement of digestion can scarcely be exaggerated. In very many instances more food is taken into the stomach than is actually required to restore tissue-waste, and the effects of such excess upon the organism are as numerous as they are hurtful. Indeed, few elements of disease are more constantly operative in a great variety of ailments. In the first place, if food be introduced into the stomach beyond tissue-requirements, symptoms of indigestion at once manifest themselves. The natural balance betwixt [p. 443]supply and demand is disturbed; the general nutrition of the body is interfered with; local disturbances of nutrition follow; and mal-products of digestion find their way into the blood. Especially is this the case when the excessive amount of food contains a disproportionate amount of nitrogenous matter. All proteid principles require a considerable amount of chemical alteration before they are fitted for the metabolic changes of the organism; the processes of assimilative conversion are more complex than those undergone by fats and amyloids; and it follows that there is proportional danger of disturbance of these processes from overwork. Moreover, if nitrogenous food is in excess of tissue-requirement, it undergoes certain oxidation changes in the blood without becoming previously woven into tissue, with resulting compounds which become positive poisons in the economy. The kidneys and skin are largely concerned in the elimination of these compounds, and the frequency with which these organs become diseased is largely due, no doubt, to the excessive use of unassimilated nitrogenous food. Then, again, if food be introduced in excess of the digestive capacity, the undigested portion acts directly upon the stomach as a foreign body, and in undergoing decomposition and putrefying changes frets and irritates the mucous membrane. It can scarcely be a matter of doubt that large groups of diseases have for their principal causes excess of alimentation beyond the actual requirements of the system. All such patients suffer from symptoms of catarrhal indigestion, such as gastric uneasiness, headache, vertigo, a general feeling of lassitude, constipation, and high-colored urine with abundant urates, together with varied skin eruptions. Such cases are greatly relieved by reducing the amount of food taken, especially nitrogenous food, and by a systematic and somewhat prolonged course of purgative mineral waters. Europe is especially rich in these springs. The waters of Carlsbad, Ems, Seltzer, Friedrichshall, and Marienbad, and many of the alkaline purgative waters of our own country, not unfrequently prove valuable to those who can afford to try them, and their value shows how often deranged primary assimilation is at the foundation of many human ailments. The absurd height to which so-called restorative medicine has attained within the last twenty years or more has contributed largely to the production of inflammatory forms of indigestion, with all the evil consequences growing out of general deranged nutrition.

The use of indigestible and unwholesome food entails somewhat the same consequences. This may consist in the use of food essentially unhealthy or indigestible, or made so by imperfect preparation (cooking, etc.). Certain substances taken as food cannot be dissolved by the gastric or intestinal secretions: the seeds, the skins, and rinds of fruit, the husks of corn and bran, and gristle and elastic tissue, as well as hairs in animal food, are thrown off as they are swallowed, and if taken in excess they mechanically irritate the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane and excite symptoms of acute dyspepsia, and not unfrequently give rise to pain of a griping character accompanied by diarrhoea. Symptoms of acute dyspepsia also frequently follow the ingestion of special kinds of food, such as mushrooms, shellfish, or indeed fish of any kind; and food not adapted to the individual organism is apt to excite dyspeptic symptoms. Appetite and digestion are also very much influenced by the life and [p. 444]habits of the individual. The diet, for instance, of bodily labor should consist largely of digestible nitrogenous food, and meat, par excellence, should be increased in proportion as muscular exercise is increased. For all sorts of muscular laborers a mixed diet is best in which animal food enters as a prominent ingredient. Thus, it has been found, according to the researches of Chambers, that in forced military marches meat extract has greater sustaining properties than any other kind of food. But with those who do not take much outdoor exercise the error is apt to be, as already pointed out, in the direction of over-feeding. It cannot be doubted at the present time that over-eating (gluttony) is one of our popular vices. Hufeland says: "In general we find that men who live sparingly attain to the greatest age." While preventive medicine in the way of improved hygiene—better drainage, better ventilation, etc.—is contributing largely to the longevity of the race, we unfortunately encounter in more recent times an antagonizing influence in the elegant art of cookery. Every conceivable ingenuity is resorted to to tempt men to eat more than their stomachs can properly or easily digest or tissue-changes require. The injurious consequences of such over-feeding may finally correct itself by destroying the capacity of the stomach to digest the food.

Food may also be introduced into the stomach in an undigestible form [p. 445]from defects of cookery. The process of cooking food produces certain well-known chemical changes in alimentary substances which render them more digestible than in the uncooked state. By the use of fire in cooking his food new sources of strength have been opened up to man which have doubtless contributed immeasurably to his physical development, and has led to his classification as the cooking animal. With regard to most articles the practice of cooking his food beforehand is wellnigh universal; and especially is this the case with all farinaceous articles of food. The gluten of wheat is almost indigestible in the uncooked state. By the process of cooking the starchy matter of the grain is not only liberated from its protecting envelopes, but it is converted into a gelatinous condition which readily yields to the diastasic ferments. Roberts, in his lectures on the Digestive Ferments, points out the fact that when men under the stress of circumstances have been compelled to subsist on uncooked grains of the cereals, they soon fell into a state of inanition and disease.

Animal diet is also more easily digested in the cooked than in the raw state. The advantage consists chiefly in the effects of heat on the connective tissue and in the separation of the muscular fibre. In this respect cooking aids the digestive process. The gastric juice cannot get at the albumen-containing fibrillæ until the connective tissue is broken up, removed, or dissolved. Hot water softens and removes this connective tissue. Hence raw meat is less easily digestible. Carnivorous animals, that get their food at long intervals, digest it slowly. By cutting, bruising, and scraping meat we to a certain extent imitate the process of cooking. In many cases, indeed, ill-nourished children and dyspeptics digest raw beef thus comminuted better than cooked, and it is a matter of observation that steamed and underdone roast meats are more digestible than when submitted to greater heat.

Some interesting observations have been made by Roberts on the effects of the digestive ferments on cooked and uncooked albuminoids. He employed in his experiments a solution of egg albumen made by mixing white of egg with nine times its volume of water. "This solution," says Roberts, "when boiled in the water-bath does not coagulate nor sensibly change its appearance, but its behavior with the digestive ferments is completely altered. In the raw state this solution is attacked very slowly by pepsin and acid, and pancreatic extract has no effect on it; but after being cooked in the water-bath the albumen is rapidly and entirely digested by artificial gastric juice, and a moiety of it is rapidly digested by pancreatic extract."

It is a mistake, however, to suppose that cooking is equally necessary for all kinds of albuminoids. The oyster, at least, is quite exceptional, for it contains a digestive ferment—the hepatic diastase—which is wholly destroyed by cooking. Milk may be indifferently used either in the cooked or uncooked state, and fruits, which owe their value chiefly to sugar, are not altered by cooking.

The object in introducing here these remarks on cooking food is to show that it forms an important integral part of the work of digestion, and has a direct bearing on the management of all forms of dyspepsia.

January 1, 1911

American physical education review. v.16 (1911)


Up to this time the athletes had lived a simple natural life in the open air, eating figs, cheese, porridge and meal cakes, with meat only occasionally. The introduction of a meat diet is ascribed to Pythagoras of Samos, a trainer of boxing and other sports. The object of a meat diet was to make weight, and to produce this bulk the trainer prescribed vast quantities of meat.

The high ideals of the poet, artist and philosopher kept athletics comparatively pure for a short time, but when the patriotic wave that followed the Persian war had spent its force, the decline in amateurism was rapid, and we enter the third period where too much competition begat specialization; specialization begat professionalism, and that in itself was death to true sport. Even the good athlete could not hope for success unless he put himself under a rigorous and prolonged course of training. The trainers had to concentrate on the preparation for single events. "The runner," says Socrates, "has over-developed his legs, the boxer his arms and shoulders." 

Up to this time the athletes had lived a simple natural life in the open air, eating figs, cheese, porridge and meal cakes, with meat only occasionally. The introduction of a meat diet is ascribed to Pythagoras of Samos(c. 570 – c. 495 BC), a trainer of boxing and other sports. It was momentous in that it at once created an artificial distinction between the life of the athlete and the life of the ordinary man, who ate meat but sparingly, just as our training tables place the athletes in an artificial and unnatural class by themselves, being used for this purpose quite as much as for any special diet that may be prescribed. 

The object of a meat diet was to make weight, for there was no classification in Greece of boxers and wrestlers into light, middle, and heavy weights. Weight then was important, and to produce this bulk the trainer prescribed vast quantities of meat, so that eating, sleeping and exercise occupied the athlete's entire time. 

Euripides calls such an athlete "the slave of his jaw and his belly," and the generals and soldiers condemned this training because it left no time for the practice of military exercises, and failed to produce the all-round development necessary for the useful soldier and citizen. The sacrifice for supreme excellence in a specialty was too great to make success a sufficient reward. Athletics had now passed that point where they could serve their true purpose of providing exercise or recreation. The competition was too severe and the training too artificial and exacting. It became the monopoly of the few professionals who devoted their entire time to it, while the rest of the young men, despairing of success, took to the hill as spectators. The amateur could not compete with the professional. Before the close of the fifth century, the word athlete had come to denote a professional, and amateur athletics were no longer practiced by the fashionable youth of Athens. Socrates, taunting an ill-developed youth with his unprofessional condition of body, meets the answer, "Of course, for I am not a professional but an amateur." 

Whereupon Socrates reads him a lecture on the necessity of developing his body to the utmost, saying: "No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a part of his profession as a citizen to keep himself in good condition and ready to serve his state at amoment's notice." "What a disgrace it is for aman to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable."

Fun Wikipedia Facts about Pythagoras:

Pythagoreanism also entailed a number of dietary prohibitions.[107][156][172] It is more or less agreed that Pythagoras issued a prohibition against the consumption of fava beans[173][156] and the meat of non-sacrificial animals such as fish and poultry.[166][156] Both of these assumptions, however, have been contradicted.[174][175] Pythagorean dietary restrictions may have been motivated by belief in the doctrine of metempsychosis.[146][176][177][178] Some ancient writers present Pythagoras as enforcing a strictly vegetarian diet.[e][146][177] Eudoxus of Cnidus, a student of Archytas, writes, "Pythagoras was distinguished by such purity and so avoided killing and killers that he not only abstained from animal foods, but even kept his distance from cooks and hunters."[179][180] Other authorities contradict this statement.[181] According to Aristoxenus,[182] Pythagoras allowed the use of all kinds of animal food except the flesh of oxen used for ploughing, and rams.[180][183] According to Heraclides Ponticus, Pythagoras ate the meat from sacrifices[180] and established a diet for athletes dependent on meat.[180]

January 1, 1951

Roger Buliard




"Kakertogot taima"..."We are always hungry now."
Of course they were hungry. The Eskimo is a carnivore. His body craves meat--seal, bear, caribou, fish--and the climate and his hard life aren't satisfied by anything else. Half a grapefruit and a couple of pieces of toast are not the breakfast for the Inuk at all, but for another class of people.


page 213

The Eskimo used to hunt only what he needed--bear, seal, caribou.

The little foxes--Tiriganiak--he despised. In the old days the Copper Eskimo hardly recognized the existence of the fox. If he met one on the trail he might risk an arrow on him, just to try his skill, but never because he wanted the animal. Fox meat makes poor eating, and fox fur is too frail for anything but baby clothes.

But fashionable women in Paris and New York did not share the Inuk's contempt for the fox. They regarded Tiriganiak's silvery fur as a perfect complement to their gleaming shoulders. What women want, men will get, and so the white man came to the Arctic after foxes and dinned into the Eskimo's ear the value of fox pelts.

"Do you want a rifle, eh, Inuk? Ammunition? Then go and get us foxes, plenty of foxes. Plenty of foxes."

The Eskimo wanted the white man's rifle, steel knife, fish net, boat. So he went after foxes. And soon he found he was so busy getting the miserable little animals that he had no time left in which to hunt for real meat--for bear and caribou. Observing the white traders, he saw them eating bread and jam, and tea with sugar. The new food was no good. It had no taste, and certainly didn't stay with one on the trail. But the Inuk wanted to imitate the Krabloonak. He ate the white man's sugar, and soon it became a habit. He found that he could not do without it. 

"Sugar!" he says. "The Eyebrows offered it to us for nothing, just to try, and we threw it away. The taste of that sand was so bad. Now we have got to like it, but they no longer give it to us. They sell it, and dearly. Mamianar! Calamity!"

Systematically, the white traders ensared the Eskimos, making them slaves to commodities of which they had felt no need before the Eyebrows came, unnecessary luxuries such as flour, silk, sugar, even chewing gum. All these things the Inuit paid for--by giving up his healthy, free life in exchange for trivial luxuries. He ceased to be a hunter, in many cases, and became a trapper, a slave to the little foxes he despised. Thus Tiriganiak--the smallest of all--revolutionized the Eskimo's life, at least the lives of those Eskimos close enough to the traders' posts to come under their influence.

Not too long ago, all Eskimos hunted to clothe and feed themselves. Now they go after foxes, with which to buy some jam, or a Micky Mouse watch, or a cheap, tinny-sounding phonograph. They haven't time to hunt fo seal to provide oil for their lamps, so they buy the white man's kerosene. More foxes. There is no caribou meat on hand, so he eats the white man's flour. More foxes. Soon he lives in a vicious circle, like a knifegrinder's dog in his wheel cage.

Thus, in those areas where the traders hold sway, the happy hunter of old has become a kind of clerk. Once fierce and independent, ignoring tomorrow and contemptuous of anyone who mentioned it, now he is always in debt, as badly off as a petty office worker caught in the clutches of the race-track bookmaker. Once his life was diversified--today hunting, tomorrow sealing, the next day fishing--whatever satisifed the whim of the moment. Now he must turn all his energies toward the capture of the fox. And the supreme irony, of which he is aware, is in the fact that he, the Agun, the male, must outstrip himself to satisfy the desires of the scorned Arna--the woman. And the Krabloonak's woman, at that.

Along the coast, noawadays, one often hears from the Eskimos a bitter, disillusioned cry. "Kakertogot taima"..."We are always hungry now."

Of course they were hungry. The Eskimo is a carnivore. His body craves meat--seal, bear, caribou, fish--and the climate and his hard life aren't satisfied by anything else. Half a grapefruit and a couple of pieces of toast are not the breakfast for the Inuk at all, but for another class of people.

Yet the Inuk counts on the little foxes to provide his sustenance all the year round, and sometimes the foxes don't turn up. Then he's in trouble. Then there is famine. And it is usually too late before the Inuit resign themselves to going out on the ice after seals, as they should have done early in the winter. They starve. At Coppermine, in 1948, for example the whole Eskimo colony kept alive only by eating old skins, boots, and other rubbish--and this not fifteen miles from a white man's settlement.

You might blame the traders themselves, and it is true that some are mightily unscrupulous, but it is not the individuals who should be blamed, but the system, and the government that encourages it. I am told that such tragedy is not known among the Eskimos in Greenland, under Danish rule, though it matches the colonial pattern elsewhere--in the sugar islands of the Caribbean, for eample, where the natives were persuaded to forego their food crops in order to plant sugar cane, and where starvation results when the sugar crop is poor or when the market drops and the price breaks. 

The Eskimos have never heard of the seven lean kine. A trapper may bag three hundred foxes in one year and three the next, but it never occurs to him to store provisions against a bad season. Of course, we must blame him for his improvidence. But must we not also blame the white men who profit vilely from the Eskimo's ignorance, who take advantage of a good fox season by importing diamond rings, gold watches, silk dresses, chronometers, and similar goods? Of what use is a diamond ring to a woman who's going to wear it for cutting seal blubber, if she's lucky enough to have a seal to cut up? What good is a chronometer, complete with sweep second hand, to a man who doesn't care a whit for time? Of what use is a silk dress under a greasy caribou parka?

With melancholy one must watch a venal civilization displace the old Eskimo style. The white man is as devious as Sila. He takes much, and gives little. He talks big, and the rewards look inviting, but when the season is over he has the foxes and what has Inuk?

An empty belly. A forlorn view of the future. The precious watch will soon be opened to see what makes it tick and ruined by snow or water. The elegant dress will soon because a greasy snot-stained rag. The diamong ring will not be worn long before it is lost down a seals' hole. Alas!

January 1, 1951

Roger Buliard




Buliard questions whether civilization has been positive for the people of the North: The Eskimo's fur clothing is perfect for the climate, and his diet, heavy with fat, was just the thing for a man who was going to hunt on the ice in forty-below-zero weather. In one sense, civilization, by making things easier for the Eskimo, has really set the stage for the Eskimo's destruction.


One cannot deny the great benefits that civilization has bestowed upon the Eskimos. Certainly the white man has made life easier for the Eskimo, giving him nets, rifles, and steady trade. And the possibilities for human development implicit in the word "civilization" have at least been indicated to the Inuit.

But it would be idle to contest the contest the statement that civilization has been a mixed blessing so far as the Eskimos are concerned, and sometimes the advantages seem to be outweighed by the real harm that has been done. The trade-store rifles helped the Inuk kill his caribou more easily, but they also led to wholesale destruction of caribou and a change in the animals' migratory habits. The substitution of wool for fur clothing has not been beneficial, nor has the introduction of unsuitable foods into the Eskimo diet. The Eskimo's fur clothing is perfect for the climate, and his diet, heavy with fat, was just the thing for a man who was going to hunt on the ice in forty-below-zero weather. In one sense, civilization, by making things easier for the Eskimo, has really set the stage for the Eskimo's destruction. And the introduction of disease germs has inflicted on the Eskimos the same scourges that decimated the Indians and destroyed their pride. The ravages of disease are plain enough here, and one may deplore the havoc wrought during the last fifteen years alone.

Who is responsible[not God, obviously]?

The government, of course, since any government is always responsible for the welfare of people under its jurisdiction.

What has been Canada's attitude toward "Natives" generally?[The same attitude that Catholic schools had?]

The goverment was unfair to the Indians. After the treaty, by means of which the Indians sold their birthright--the limitless prairies and rich forests--for a mess of lentils, the government permitted tuberculosis, starvation, and loss of liberty to reduce them from a proud, self-sufficient people to a race of permanent invalids.

Was this done innocently, or through oversight? Through ignorance?

One wonders. As an official told Bishop Breynat: "it had been thought that the Indian problem would resolve itself. Their number was diminishing steadily. They would disappear."

The same policy was adopted where Eskimos were concerned.

Toward them Canada had no written obligation, as it had toward the Indians, but only the Biblical warning that we are all our brothers' keepers. Nor did the government have any specific duty toward them, except in moral terms. And so the goverment fell back on a policy that can be summed up in a word: indifference.


January 1, 1951

Roger Buliard




It is fat, fish, and meat that a man wants in this country. Are we white men harbingers of a new and brilliant era, or simply advance agents of destruction? Do we bring with us anything more than dollar corruption, and the corporal and moral germs that have afflicted our own civilization?


The government family allowances, distributed to the Eskimos by the Hudson's Bay Company, have been precious help, especially to large families, and have been of great assistance in enabling the Eskimo people to bridge the gap created by the change in their economy wrought by the introduction to fox hunting. One deficiency of the allowance system is that it does not encourage Eskimos to teach their children to live off the country wherever possible. If the Eskimo takes his allowance every month or two, he can only obtain such items as fruit, tinned milk, jam, and so forth--things he doesn't particularly care for or need. It is fat, fish, and meat that a man wants in this country. To acquire credit for nets and ammunition an Eskimo must refrain from drawing his allowance until it amounts to forty dollars. Some arrangement should be made that would encourage the Eskimo to hunt, rather than to live on foods that are unsuitable. 

Whatever the deficiencies of the new dispensantion, it is certainly true that the Inuk is less abandoned than he was a year, two years, ten years ago. And this we must applaud, for when we look at certain statistical data we are forced to shudder at what the figures demonstrate of man's inhumanity toward man.

Monez, in the wake of Diamond Genness, estimated the number of Canadian Eskimos to be twenty-two thousand before the arrival of the white man. Some eight thousand were left in 1921, six thousand in 1931, and about five thousand in 1950. 

We are told that the Eskimo population trend has been reversed, that next year, and the year after, there will be more of them.

Will they be the same caliber of Eskimo, energetic, tough, healthy?

Or will they be a people broken in spirit and health, like the Chippewas to the south?

A single glance at the specimens now growing up seems to show that we may be gaining in quantity only what we have irretrievably lost in quality. The answer to this problem is in better government, better medical services, better police work. Only if epidemics are prevented, tuberculosis checked, ignorance ameliorated, and the methods of trade improved will the Eskimo people have a real chance of surviving with their own peculiar usefulness and beauty intact.

Are we white men harbingers of a new and brilliant era, or simply advance agents of destruction?

Do we bring with us anything more than dollar corruption, and the corporal and moral germs that have afflicted our own civilization?

If the future is to provide a satisfactory answer to these thorny problems, it is imperative that all those who work for the Eskimo, in any field or capacity whatsoever (the government, the civilian commercial enterprises, the Christian Churches), dedicate all their endeavors with supreme determination and utter selflessness not only to save the poor Inuk from extermination, but also to assure him a human "modus vivendi" compatible with the unique environment in which Providence wishes him to work out not only his temporal existence, but his eternal salvation. Then, and only then, will the Inuk, out there on the ice, perceive at last the promise of a bright new dawn that will scatter the darkness forever.

Ancient History