Alberta’s Child Advocate Plays the Tattered Residential School Card

By —— Bio and Archives--July 24, 2017

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The Government of Alberta’s Child Advocate, Del Graff, is all over the news again. Del and his 65 underlings at the Office of Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) recently reported on three Aboriginal children who died shortly after being returned to their parents following time in government care.

Del’s main beef is that the Government isn’t heeding recommendations spelled out in his 2016 report: Voices of Change: Aboriginal Child Welfare in Alberta.

The report is read-worthy. After a brief intro it launches into a denunciation of the long since discontinued residential school system; to wit:

Taken from their families, these children often faced deplorable conditions in these schools. In 1907, one government medical inspector, P.H. Bryce, reported that 24% of previously healthy Aboriginal children across Canada were dying in residential schools. Bryce further reported that anywhere from 47% (on the Peigan Reserve in Alberta) to 75 percent (at the File Hills Boarding School in Saskatchewan) of students discharged from residential schools died shortly after returning home.”

Horrific stuff. Sounds almost genocidal. Here’s the truth.

Peter Henderson Bryce submitted his Report on the Indian Schools of Manitoba and Northwest Territories to the federal government in 1907 after inspecting 35 of 41 residential schools.

According to Bryce, circa 1905, Manitoba had 8,074 “Indians.” 1,726 were under 16 years of age of whom 479 were in school. Saskatchewan had 7,425 Indians; 1,504 under 16 years of age, with 735 in school. Of Alberta’s 5,512 Indians 999 were under 16 and 612 were in school.

The large number of youth not in school contradicts the party line about residential schools being compulsory. This issue overlaps onto the “previously healthy Aboriginal children” canard as Bryce criticises school principals for admitting sick pupils merely to keep up enrollments.

To ascertain student death rates Bryce asked school principals to fill out questionnaires and then mail them to his Ottawa address. Fifteen principals complied, albeit in an inconsistent fashion.

Tuberculosis “reaper of youth.”

Most of these 15 schools had been operating since the late-1880s or early-1890s. As of 1907 these schools had been open an average for 14 years. By that date 1,537 pupils had attended these 15 schools for at least a brief period before departing: dead or alive. Bryce estimated 380 students had died. This figure includes: students who died at school; students who died shortly after leaving school; and former students who died up to a decade and a half after returning home. The infamous File Hills School housed, over the years, a total of 31 students. Nine died at school. Seven died within 3 years after leaving school. Six died long after returning home and 9 were in good health.

What Bryce repeatedly stresses (and what the OCYA report cravenly omits) is that there was a single cause of death for all student and former student fatalities: tuberculosis.

We have forgotten what a scourge TB was a century ago. Between 1851 and 1910 four million residents of England and Wales died from tuberculosis. The disease’s unique propensity to waylay teenagers earned it the moniker: “reaper of youth.”

North American Aboriginals were, and continue to be, especially vulnerable to tuberculosis. An 1887 study on New York State’s reservations found an astonishing 63% of all deaths were due to tuberculosis. A study done a few years later on Aboriginals in South Dakota found tuberculosis to be the cause of 65% of deaths. A 1903 New Mexico study found tuberculosis to be the cause of 36% of Aboriginal deaths.



Continued below...

Tuberculosis is a “disease of the poor”

Tuberculosis is a “disease of the poor” for two reasons. Firstly, it primarily spreads through close contact with persons suffering the full-blown phase of the disease. People crammed into small unventilated rooms are the typical victims. Secondly, well over 90% of people contacting the TB microbe don’t get sick. There has to be extenuating circumstances to cause actual sickness, the most common being malnutrition. Other aggravating factors include: diabetes, alcoholism and tobacco smoking but the skin-and-bones physique gets inexorably drawn unto the grave.

Bryce spends a few sentences complaining about the lack of ventilation in the boarding schools while commending the valiant efforts of a few principals to improve air-flow. However, he does not comment on native housing in general. The fatal over-crowding of urban slums and American reservations persisted across Canada’s reserves. Nor does Bryce discuss the obviously inadequate diets of on-reserve Aboriginals.

To have 380 of 1,572 young people die over a 15 year period seems alarming but, callous as it may sound, such a death rate would have been entirely normal among urban slums and native reserves at this time.

So what do residential schools have to do with this? Nothing, except residential schools are a central prop of our B-grade assimilation-was-genocide horror show.

Alberta’s Child Advocate is confronting a real problem. At last count there were 6,880 kids in government care. 4,719 were Aboriginal (Metis or First Nations). Aboriginals constitute 5% of Alberta’s population and 70% of kids in care. Metis children are 6 times more likely to be in care than non-Aboriginal children. First Nations kids are 30 times more likely.

The official narrative is that this epidemic of child abuse and neglect arises from a collective post-traumatic stress disorder within an Aboriginal population struggling to overcome a genocidal assault.


Some genocide!

Recall that according to Bryce, Alberta had 5,512 “First Nations” persons in 1905. Malthusians contend that under optimal conditions a human population might double in size every 25 years. Doubling 5,500 four and half times yields 132,000. Alberta had 124,000 First Nations persons in 2011. Bump that forward 6 years and we arrive almost exactly at the figure one might expect for a population exploding exponentially under ideal conditions. Some genocide!

Del Graff recommends: a) increased Aboriginal self-determination; b) more traditional Aboriginal ceremonies; c) equal relationship between band councils and the provincial government; and d) more control of provincial welfare money by Aboriginal communities. In essence, the government should throw more money at the problem and devolve ever greater authority to the 140 native band councils i.e. the precise people responsible for this travesty.

Del’s got a tough row to hoe. He must tour Alberta every couple of years to chat with Aboriginal-run non-profits and band councils. His staff then has to polish the Aboriginal leaders’ concerns into glossy reports. Del’s annual compensation: a crappy $316,000. Must weep all the way to Mexico.

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William Walter Kay, Ecofascism.com

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