Indian hospital

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Indian hospitals were racially segregated[1] hospitals, mostly tuberculosis sanatoria, for Aboriginal people in Canada (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit; "Indians" in the parlance of the day) which operated from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century. The hospitals were used to isolate First Nations tuberculosis patients from the general population, because of a fear among health officials that "Indian TB" posed a danger to the non-Aboriginal population. Many of these hospitals were located on Indian reserves, and might also be called reserve hospitals, while others were in nearby cities.

Early hospitals for Indians were mostly church-run, in a manner similar to the Indian residential schools. For example, the Grey Nuns opened a small hospital on the Blood reserve in southern Alberta in 1893 with the support of the Department of Indian Affairs, while the Church of England in Canada founded a hospital on the nearby Blackfoot reserve in 1896.[2] Slowly, the Department of Indian Affairs took control of the hospitals away from the churches. The Blood hospital was replaced with a new structure paid for by the department in 1928, and the Blackfoot hospital was replaced in 1923, partially with funds taken from the band's trust fund[2]

The newly created federal Department of National Health and Welfare took over the building and running of Indian hospitals in 1946 as part of Canada's new welfare state policies following the Second World War.[3]

Example institutions[edit]


  1. ^ Maureen Lux*. "We Demand 'Unconditional Surrender': Making and Unmaking the Blackfoot Hospital, 1890s to 1950s". Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b "Reserve Hospitals and Medical Officers: Health Care and Indian Peoples in Southern Alberta, 1890s-1930" (PDF). University of Saskatchewan Library. 1996. 
  3. ^ a b Lux, MK (2012-12-12). "Care for the "racially careless": Indian hospitals in the Canadian West, 1920-1950s". Can Hist Rev. 91: 407–34. PMID 20857588. 
  4. ^ "Former patients still haunted by memories of Nanaimo Indian Hospital". Nanaimo Daily News. 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Laurie Meijer Drees (15 November 2012). Healing Histories: Stories from Canada's Indian Hospitals. University of Alberta Press. ISBN 978-0-88864-650-7.