The potential for systematic change within the population resident at Island Lake, Manitoba

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Sawchuk, Lawrence Alexander
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The status of scientific inquiry on the American Indian has been summarized in the following statement of Neel and Salzano: The American Indian today presents a series of unusual - and in some respects - unique - biological, medical, and humanitanian challenges . . . . . Meeting these challenges will not only provide data of considerable scientific importance, but also data of real value to the Indian as in the Americas he progresses toward those greater opportunities which must be his. (1964:85) A recent "discussion of the biomedical challenges presented by the American Indian (PAHO, 1968) has excluded representation of numerous important problem areas and populations resident in Canada". (Rokala, 1969: pers. communication) In 1969, an investigation of the Canadian Indian population, resident upon the Island Lake Reserve in northeastern Manitoba, was initiated by Dr. D.A. Rokala, Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba. Corrigan and Segal (1950) reported frequent consanguineous matings between individuals resident at Island Lake associated with an elevated prevalence of congenital dislocation of the hip in the issue of such matings. Rokala (1969: pers. communication) proposed that the Island Lake population may be considered as "an isolate with elevated random or non-random consanguity between mating types as contributory to the population pathology". The Island Lake project was designed with the awareness that the potential for genenating testable hypotheses related to the normal and pathological variability within a human population is contingent upon the control of potential sources of noise through demographic analysis of the population structure (Rokala, 1969: pers. communication)...