Care for the ‘Racially Careless’: Indian Hospitals in the Canadian West, 1920–1950s


Author's Abstract:

"In the 1930s, sanatorium directors and medical bureaucrats warned of the threat to Canadian society of ‘Indian tuberculosis.’ Long-standing government policy aimed to isolate Aboriginal people on reserves and in residential schools, while their access to medical care was limited by government parsimony and community prejudice. Characterized as ‘racially careless’ concerning their own health, Aboriginal bodies were seen as a menace to their neighbours and a danger to the nation. By the 1940s state-run racially segregated Indian hospitals institutionalized Aboriginal people who were not welcome in provincial sanatoria or in the modernizing community hospitals. The opening of the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital in Edmonton in 1946, one of the first acts of the newly created department of National Health and Welfare, was a very public demonstration of the state's commitment to define and promote ‘national health’ by isolating and institutionalizing Aboriginal people."

Publication Information

Maureen, Lux. "Care for the ‘Racially Careless’: Indian Hospitals in the Canadian West, 1920–1950s." Canadian Historical Review 9.3 (2010): 407-434.

Lux, Maureen
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