1st Edition

Greenland’s Stolen Indigenous Children A Personal Testimony

By Helene Thiesen Copyright 2023
    226 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this book, author Helene Thiesen recounts her experience of being removed from her family in Greenland as a young Inuk child, to be ‘re-educated’ in Denmark and an orphanage in Greenland. 

    The practice of forcible assimilation of Indigenous children into colonial societies through ‘education’ has echoes in North America and Australasia, and the painful legacy of these practices remains under-acknowledged. In this poignant book, Helene recounts in detail the process of being taken from her family in 1951, aged seven, along with twenty-one other children, in the attempt to re-make them into ‘model Danish citizens’, in a social ‘experiment’ led by the Danish government and Save the Children Denmark. When the children returned to Greenland a year and a half later, they were sent to live in a Danish Red Cross orphanage, where they were forbidden to speak their native languages, and were compelled to adopt Danish language, culture and customs. With a detailed introductory analysis from Dr Stephen James Minton, who also provides the translation, Helene’s account serves as a compelling and powerful testimony of a devastating colonial experiment.

    Richly illustrated with forty photos to help to situate the reader, this book provides an invaluable case study for researchers and students in the fields of Indigenous Studies, Critical Pedagogy and Education, Psychology, European History, and Cultural Studies. 

    TRANSLATOR’S FOREWORD, Stephen James Minton  GREENLAND’S STOLEN INDIGENOUS CHILDREN AND THE SHADOW OF AN ‘EXPERIMENT’, Stephen James Minton  FOREWORD TO THE DANISH- AND GREENLANDIC-LANGUAGE EDITIONS, Tine Bryld  FOR DILIGENCE AND GOOD BEHAVIOUR: TESTIMONY FROM AN EXPERIMENT, Helene Thiesen  1. Godthåb, 1951  2. Historical Background  3. Denmark, 1951  4. Godthåb, 1952  5. 1953 – 1956  6. 1957 – 1960  7. What Happened Afterwards  Thanks  About Helene Thiesen  TRANSLATOR’S AFTERWORD, Stephen James Minton


    Helene Thiesen was one of the twenty-two Inuit children who, in 1951, were taken from their families in Greenland to be ‘re-educated’ in Denmark. After a career in children's education herself, she has written a book about her experiences, which appears here in English for the first time. 

    Stephen James Minton is the translator and editor of this book. He is an Associate Professor in Applied Psychology at the University of Plymouth, UK, and a part-time Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Southeastern Norway.