Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s - 1980s

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s - 1980s

Article excerpt

Maureen K. Lux, Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s - 1980s. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016. 288 pages. ISBN 978-1-4426-1386-7. $32.95 paperback.

Aboriginal health in Canada has been a relatively hot topic over the last decade; however, one aspect of the discussion that has been missing is an examination of Indian hospitals. Lux's Separate Beds addresses this void and provides a broad examination of the topic by exploring such things as why segregated institutions were established, staff and patient experiences, and why the facilities eventually shut down. It is evident throughout the book that the Eurocentric attitudes and religious beliefs of the general public and of the Canadian government (who maintained they had no legal obligation to provide healthcare to First Nations or the Inuit) were responsible for the creation and long maintenance of these segregated healthcare facilities. Lux explains that mainstream hospitals and sanatoriums were "reserved for white patients" (19) and that Indian hospitals were designed to isolate sick or diseased Indians as a means to protect general society. Indian hospitals were makeshift institutions which were overcrowded and underfunded. They became disease reservoirs and contributed greatly to the problem they were supposed to address. …

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