"And Neither Have I Wings to Fly":

By Thelma Wheatley

"And Neither Have I Wings to Fly":
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The shocking true story of the institutionalization and abuse of children and adults with intellectual and physical handicaps in Canada's oldest provincial institution in Orillia, Ontario. Daisy Lumsden and her family were such victims, along with over ten thousand children, ... Read more


Overview

The shocking true story of the institutionalization and abuse of children and adults with intellectual and physical handicaps in Canada's oldest provincial institution in Orillia, Ontario. Daisy Lumsden and her family were such victims, along with over ten thousand children, including infants, and adults with intellectual disabilities committed over the last century to the institution now known as Huronia Regional Centre, formerly the Asylum for Idiots and Feeble-Minded. The time frame of the book, 1900-1966, covers the most controversial decades in its history, a time of over-crowding and abuses that reached a crux in the 1950s and 1960s when the inmate population was nearly 3000. Victims of the rising eugenic ideology of the early 1900s that infiltrated Canada from United States and Britain, advocating segregation and involuntary sterilization of the "feeble-minded," Daisy's family - uneducated, ignorant, unemployed, incestuous, poor - were easily identifiable as "feeble-minded" and "unfit," unwittingly caught up in a genetic "survival of the fittest." But who are the "unfit" in our society? And who decides?

Thelma Wheatley

Grand-daughter of a Welsh coal-miner, Thelma Wheatley immigrated to Canada in her twenties to teach, and obtained her Master's degree in English at York University. She married a Sri Lankan in the 1960s when "mixed" marriages were frowned upon. Wheatley bonded closely with her Eurasian Sri Lankan in-laws in Toronto, who were part of the British colonial empire in Ceylon (later, Sri Lanka. She is the author of award-winning And Neither Have I Wings To Fly: Labelled and Locked Up in Canada's Oldest Institution (2013), which was short-listed for the Wales Book of the Year Award 2014 among other awards. Her first book was about her autistic son, My Sad Is All Gone: A Family's Triumph Over Violent Autism (2004). Tamarind Sky is her debut novel.

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