TB Big Killer Of Early Residential School Students

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 13:09



Documents show as many as half the Aboriginal children who attended the early years of residential schools died of tuberculosis.


A Globe and Mail report says the deaths took place despite repeated warnings to the federal government that poor sanitation and a lack of medical care were fuelling the rapid spread of the disease.


The documents — examined by the Globe in the National Archives — reveal that children continued to die from tuberculosis at alarming rates for at least four decades after a warning from Ottawa.


Peter Bryce, the Department of Indian Affairs’ chief medical officer, warned in 1907 that schools were making no effort to separate healthy children from those sick with the highly contagious disease.


He visited 15 Western Canadian residential schools and found at least 24 per cent of students had died from tuberculosis over a 14-year period. One school had a 69 per cent death rate.


The revelations come less than four months before Ottawa officially settles out of court with most former students of residential schools.


(courtesy of The Globe and Mail and Broadcast News)