Peter Henderson Bryce was a medical doctor, civil servant and public health expert. In 1907, after surveying 35 residential schools, he submitted a report to the Department of Indian Affairs detailing clear connections between Residential Schools, tuberculosis and high student mortality rates. His recommendations fell on deaf ears and would not be revealed publicly until he was forced to retire. Fifteen years after his initial report, he published an 18-page “appeal for justice”—a pamphlet containing his findings and recommendations, and condemning the government’s lack of action to address illness and death in the Residential School System and First Nation communities. Indigenous peoples continued to experience disproportionate impacts of tuberculosis for years to come. Eventual federal intervention involved a confusing web of enforced medical care leaving Survivors and patients’ families to seek answers and closure.
This is The Story of a National Crime, new podcast from Knockabout Media, coming this fall.