Living Library – ‘Slow motion genocide’ Author unravels history of Canada’s Indian Hospitals

Author Gary Geddes talks about his book ‘Medicine Unbundled’ at the Dryden Area Anti-Racism Network’s final Living Library event of the season. Photo by Michael Christianson

By Michael Christianson

Author Gary Geddes visited the Dryden Public Library last week to speak about his new book Medicine Unbundled: A Journey Through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care.

Geddes came from British Columbia to speak about his experiences over four years researching and delving into the world of Indian Hospitals.

Through his research and travels Geddes got to know many survivors of these hospitals and what they went through. The picture was one of underfunded and understaffed hospitals where patients often faced abuse.

Survivors of the hospitals also spoke of sterilization, shock treatment and other drug experiments.

One of the drug experiments he spoke in depth about was the administration of large doses of the Polio Vaccine Simian vacuolating virus 40 (SV40) which is now linked to brain cancer.

“I think we need to rewrite the national narrative and put in all of the stuff,” said Geddes. “What we’ve had in Canada is a slow motion genocide basically, speeded up at various points but it’s basically there and the components are still there in our society for that kind of racism to flourish. So I hope my book has a little bit of an impact in terms of alerting people to what we’ve actually done to the indigenous people.”

This program marked the final Living Library Program of the season.

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