The unmarked graves of the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital
This story contains work from Lucas Holtvluwer who interviewed the author’s grandmother, Nora Zuvic-Beauregard, a former Camsell patient.
In 1946, the Charles Camsell Indian hospital was opened in Edmonton as part of the twenty-nine “Indian hospitals” that were established and operated by the Canadian government between 1945 to 1981, exclusively for Indigenous peoples.
The Canadian government segregated Indigenous people from the rest of society in substandard hospitals which were massively overcrowded, improperly staffed, and rife with physical and sexual abuse.
Former patients allege horrific conditions such as being tied or shackled to their beds for weeks or months on end while being subjected to inappropriate treatments and physical and sexual abuse. Many of the patients were also children.
The Hospital officially closed in 1996 and is now being renovated into an apartment complex. This seems to be a step forward in reconciliation for some parties, but for some of those still affected by the hospitals legacy, more time is required to move on.
Class action lawsuit filed against federal government
A class action lawsuit was filed last year, alleging that the Canadian government failed to properly oversee the activities in Charles Camsell and the other 28 “Indian hospitals,” resulting in patients that suffered from sexual and physical abuse at the hands of male technicians.
The lawsuit alleges that patients were left with severe physical, psychological and emotional injuries.
The claim is led by former patients who were admitted to an “Indian hospital” between 1945 to 1981, and their families. It states that Canada was negligent and breached its fiduciary duties owed to Indigenous patients.
Edmonton historian provides insight
To provide our readers with more information about the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital, The Post Millennial caught up with freelance writer and historian laureate Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail.
TPM: From your research on the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital, what knowledge do you have about the patients that passed away and where were they buried?
DMC: Based on my research over the past few years, the Camsell Indian Hospital (1946-1967, not the newer one) patients who weren’t returned to their home communities were collected from the hospital by two funeral homes and then buried in local cemeteries.
For the Protestant patients – especially the Anglican ones – they were buried next to the Edmonton Industrial School in St. Albert. It appears graves were dug by residential school students and tended by them until the school closed down in 1968.
This is now the St. Albert Municipal cemetery and there is a cairn erected with the names and life details (age, date of death, and home community) of those buried.
Some other Protestant patients were apparently buried at Beechmount Cemetery. The Catholic patients were sent over to the Winterburn Mission cemeteries, at Enoch Cree Nation.
There are two cemeteries – generally called the Old Winterburn and Winterburn cemeteries – and unfortunately much of the information about who was buried there has vanished because of fires and the deaths of knowledge keepers like priests.
Mystery of Winterburn
The Post Millennial reached to Enoch Cree Nation for more information on the Winterburn cemeteries but their resources to find burial plot information were very limited. However, Enoch was able to provide the location and pictures of one of cemeteries showing that there are still a handful of tombstones erected.
Enoch historical records were unable to confirm the burial plot information in either the old Winterburn cemetery or the new one.
Camsell patient speaks about her experience
The Post Millennial spoke to the daughter of a First Nation Chief, Nora Zuvic-Beauregard, whose father passed away while he was a patient at the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital. She is now an elder and residential school survivor.
TPM: Did you or any of your family members stay at Charles Camsell?
NZB: I was a patient there, as well as my father, Maxime Beauregard. He went there to receive a surgery of some kind but something went wrong and he ended up dying from the surgery. This was in 1963.
TPM: What year were you a patient there?
NZB: I was there in 1945. I don’t remember being sick, but they decided to take me away from my parents anyways. When I got out after a year and a half, I had very weak legs because I hadn’t been active enough on account of being in bed all the time.
TPM: How old were you then?
NZB: I was around 5 years old at the time.
TPM: After the passing of your father, what did Indian Affairs say?
NZB: I don’t remember hearing anything from them. They buried him somewhere, but he never came back home. He may be buried in the Winterburn cemetery. It would be nice to bring him back because he was a chief, an important man. He was the chief for 16 years, one of the longest serving chiefs in Bigstone Cree Nation History.
TPM: Was there any information shared on where he was laid to rest?
NZB: There were death records pointing to a potential burial ground in Winterburn that were found in 2017 but so far we haven’t found it.
Archaeologist weighs in on excavation options
To learn more about what options exist for exploring burial sites, The Post Millennial sat down with Alberta based archaeologist Corey Cookson.
TPM: How long have you been an archaeologist?
CC: I have been a professional archaeologist since 2013 when I started working for Tree Time Services Inc. Before that I went to MacEwan University to obtain my Bachelor of Arts (2005-2009) and the University of Alberta to obtain my Master of Arts (2011 to 2013).
TPM: Where in Alberta have you worked?
CC: I mainly work in the boreal forest and foothills region of the province doing historical resource impact assessments for our clients. I spend a lot of time in High Level, Fort McMurray, Slave Lake, and Rocky Mountain House. However, I have done some recent work in the Plains and Parkland region of the province.
TPM: What type of technology do you use to determine a burial site?
CC: We can use Ground-Penetrating Radar, which is a process that sends radio waves through the ground. As these radio waves pass through the ground, any change in the subsurface materials will cause some energy to be reflected back towards the surface while the remaining energy continues deeper. The information can be converted into a depth for the disturbance or object under the ground.
I recently conducted a GPR survey as part of a project for the Archaeological Society of Alberta and a local community, and we identified 8 previously unmarked graves, one of which may have been a mass grave associated with the Spanish Flu pandemic during the First World War.
TPM: Do you think that burial sites should be included into BILL C 391?
CC: Absolutely I do, it is a major step in decolonizing the process of archaeology where the Indigenous people of Canada had no say in how their ancestors were treated. The fact that we don’t have federal legislation protecting and repatriation Indigenous remains is quite surprising to me, especially since NAGPRA has been a thing in the U.S. since 1990.
TPM: Should this include protection and repatriation of indigenous burial sites?
CC: I believe burials should not be disturbed unless it is at the request of the descendant community or threatened by natural or cultural disturbance. The recent example from the town of Viking, Alberta, where a 19th century burial of a First Nations woman was encountered in a farmer’s field, shows how the process can be done where First Nations Elders were consulted and all ceremonies and protocols are followed.
Answers still needed
After all this time, nearly 75 years since the first “Indian hospital” was opened, many First Nation families are still looking for answers. Will they ever find the places where their loved ones were buried? Why were they brought to the hospital as children in the first place? No one can know for sure.
However, having the federal government acknowledge the wrongs that took place under the “Indian hospital” system and commit to work with Indigenous people to try and find some answers to these important questions would be a good place to start.
The passage of Bill C 391 and the protection of Indigenous burial grounds would be an excellent first step.
Andrew Scheer used money from the Conservative Party to pay costs of private schooling for his children, according to sources in contact with Global News. Some are suggesting this story might have ultimately let to Scheer’s resignation.
Scheer has since stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party, but he will not fully resign until the party has a replacement to fill the position.
According to some senior Conservative members, Scheer’s use of the Conservative Party of Canada funds was improper.
While in the House of Commons, Scheer said, “I just informed my colleagues in the Conservative caucus that I will be resigning as the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and I will be asking the Conservative Party national council to immediately begin the process of organizing a leadership contest.”
“In order to chart the course ahead in the direction this party is heading, the party needs someone who can give 100 percent.”
Dustin van Vugt, the Executive Director of the Conservative Party of Canada wrote a statement saying, “All proper procedures were followed and signed off on by the appropriate people.”
Van Vugt talked about the party covering some of Scheer’s costs in the statement saying, “As is the normal practice for political parties, the Party offered to reimburse some of the costs associated with being a national leader and re-locating the family to Ottawa.”
Prime Minister Trudeau also commented on the situation tweeting, “Andrew, I wish you all the best in your next steps — in the house and beyond. On behalf of Canadians, Thanks for your service and commitment to building a better future.”
According to the Elections Canada Act, there are not specific rules in place for these circumstances.
Some are confused about the situation seeing that Scheer’s average salary has been approximately $170,000 to $180,000 for the past 15 years.
Michael Spratt, an Ottawa lawyer said, “It may be off-brand for the Conservatives, but I don’t think any reasonable person would say that it’s a criminal offence to spend a salary top-up on personal items.”
Doug Ford also commented on Scheer’s resignation saying, “I wish Andrew Scheer all the best as he undertakes this new chapter in his life, and thank him for his service as the head of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and leader of the Conservative Party.”
Jamie Ellerton–longtime Conservative political strategist and public relations strategist at Conaptus Ltd.–said, “I know that he in more recent weeks had finally started reaching out to caucus candidates, close friends, longtime [party members] and I think he finally realized how tenuous his grasp on the leadership was, and it’s my understanding the family indeed came to the decision to do it this way.”
“But the idea that grassroots Conservative Party donations–$25 and $50 [donations]–is paying for his kids … to go to private school is just beyond the pale.”
Jack Moon, 33, died in a car accident just days after he had lost his house to a fire. The car accident was part of a multi-vehicle pileup on Highway 401 near Brockville.
He was the sole person to lose their life in Wednesday’s crash that came during a blizzard. He was identified by a family member and the OPP.
OPP told the Kingstonist that the collision happened near Brockville and was one of a total of 22 passenger vehicles damaged.
There have been a series of accidents along the highway between the Napanee and Brockville area. A separate thirty car pile-up happened near Napanee earlier this week. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.
Moon leaves behind his three children as well as another child yet to be born with his partner Krystiannah Summers.
Global News had interviewed Moon after his home was destroyed by the fire that killed two pets and left him and his family homeless on Dec. 2.
Krystiannah’s sister, Aisha Summers started a GoFundMe page with hopes to raise money for the Moon family. The Kingston community was quick to rally behind the family with donations. The page also confirmed Moon’s death
Moon’s Facebook page revealed that he travelled to Ottawa on Wednesday to get a passport. It is presumed he was returning to Kingston when the accident occurred.
The OPP is advising everyone to drive with caution over the holidays.
I’m the daughter of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson. I’ve also made a name for myself by promoting an all-meat diet (The Lion Diet) for the last two years. This diet, I believe, healed my medically-uncontrollable autoimmune disease. Hence, I know a thing or two about trolls. Trolls are a bipartisan problem, and we need to know how to deal with them.
It started with my dad when he went viral in 2016 due to his stance on preferred pronouns (Bill C16 in Canada). His principled stance led international notoriety and fame. It was the left that first came after him. The onslaught was an attempt to put him in a box—who was Jordan Peterson? We’ve had the terms alt-right, male-chauvinist, free speech warrior, an anti-trans rights conservative thrown around a lot. Some even compared him to Hitler. None of that was remotely accurate—he just thinks people’s lives would be improved if they told the truth. Most manifestations were online, but some were quite real—we’ve had posters put up around our neighbourhood with a “warning” sign and his face on them.
I wouldn’t call the people who did this trolls. While they were certainly out to harm his reputation, their key driver was fear. They were also devoid of a sense of humour.
Trolls use humour, or most of them do. There are funny ones who tease, ones that make memes, satirical trolls (see Titania McGrath), those who push boundaries, but there are also trolls who see someone struggling and take that opportunity to add in a bit more suffering. There are trolls who are really just damaged individuals, and instead of taking that hurt and thinking, “I’ve experienced pain and the world would be a better place if there was less of that,” they think, “I’ve experienced pain and that wasn’t fair, so everyone else should suffer as I did.”
The left is interesting insofar as they claim to discourage bullying, but there are many vicious bullies among them. My father was attacked without an ounce of humour, initially. After the left had their fill, there was backlash from the right when they realized he didn’t really fit into their box, either. Some just poked fun at my dad—particularly with memes which we quite enjoyed. But there were also those who psychopathically hid behind their keyboards and looked for any sign of weakness to exploit, just because they were bored.
The internet has had a field day with my story, and how could it not? “Single Mother—Daughter of the Custodian of the Patriarchy—Touts An All Meat Diet To Cure Disease.” There couldn’t be an easier target. I had a vegan YouTuber send his 300k+ vegans after me at the same time as a former U.S. comedian with a large (legitimately) alt-right audience, sent his. The barrage of malice and ridicule was overwhelming. I reached a point where I couldn’t laugh it off anymore.
Then someone published a book about my diet claiming to be Jordan and I. It was listed in the Toxicology section of Amazon. Definitely a troll, somewhat annoying, but at least it was a little funny, and brought my sense of humour back. I bought one of the books just to have around. That all happened in a two week period, at the same time as my Dad entered rehab (at least partly due to the stress of being attacked from all angles for the last three years). This is what a well-permeated troll culture can achieve.
So how did we get here? Well, a couple of things have led to this troll culture we live in. The first was the uniting power of the internet. Most people are fairly agreeable, or society wouldn’t function. Disagreeable people (mostly men), being a statistical minority, have a hard time getting along with others, and trolling in real life can have very immediate consequences. However, if you say something provocative online, it’s from behind a screen so there really isn’t much danger. You venture out to different corners of the internet, trolling, until you find your little group with relatively few repercussions. It’s these communities of disagreeable, rather malicious individuals that can self-organize towards attacking a particular person or idea.
The far left has—and still is—trying to shut down our ability to tease each other, and joke in real life. One of the reasons teasing is fun is because it is provocative—a safe means for pushing boundaries. However, the logic of the far left resembles something like “if something is provocative, then it is mean, and if it is mean, it needs to be stopped.”
There’s no nuance. Comedians are getting censored, for God’s sake. Comedians. They’re professional jokers and they’re getting censored. What type of message does that send? That you don’t know have a right to judge what is offensive or non-offensive anymore? For example, I was part of a Facebook group where someone demanded a trigger warning before talking about renovations, just in case someone couldn’t afford to do the same renovations. And they were dead serious. How could a disagreeable person, especially one with a support group not attack that? Hell, I couldn’t even help it, and I was a pregnant woman at the time.
I believe that by striving for tolerance and conformity, the left both bred new trolls and made them much more influential by removing real-world competition. When trolling first started it would have been a few disagreeable individuals, but now anyone with a sense of humour can be considered a troll. Since society can’t handle comedians anymore, we now have trolls to poke fun at us and see how far we can be pushed. Some are funny. Some push too far, but, is it because they are, perhaps, getting pushed themselves? At least partly.
This is what happens when people aren’t allowed to tease each other, and discussions are literally banned. Combine that with digital impunity and a loyal fan club for the most vicious trolls… What do we expect? We can’t really fight back. And you know what? That’s okay. Just like a comedian is defined by the response of his or her audience, so is the influence of a troll defined by the attention they can stir up.
So I’ll end with a few suggestions coming from years of experience dealing with trolls.
- Do not engage. They will say anything to get a response. Ignore them. There’s no winning against someone trying to make the world a worse place.
- Laugh it off. Try and see the humour in it. Instead of taking offence. Our culture is more and more devoid of poking fun at stressful situations and we should be trying to increase that wherever we can. How else do you deal with the brutality of life? Humour is key. Even if that’s making fun of my family and my ridiculous diet.
- Support free speech in real life. If we want to limit trolling on the internet, we should make trolling more acceptable in the real world. The more free speech is shut down, the more comedians are censored, and the more disagreeable people are silenced, the stronger this troll culture will get.
Try not to take yourself too seriously. And have a steak.
Public opinion is growing skeptical on promoting more and new economic ties with China, Canada’s second largest trading partner after the US, according to an Angus Reid poll.
The survey polled 1,499 Canadians and found that Canadians’ positive views of trade with China are starting to wane. The now yearlong imprisonment of two Canadians by Beijing was a recent development in the changing attitude towards the super power.
Many Canadians responded with concerns for human rights in China, and seven-in-ten felt the rule of law should take greater precedence in our relationship. That number is up from the last time Angus Reid polled Canadians on the issue back in February 2019, when 62 percent of people said the same.
In 2015, the poll found that 62 percent said that we should increase trade ties with China in the future, that number dropped by 40 percent this year, now only 22 percent of people feel that way.
Two thirds of Canadians now hold an unfavourable view of China, a number that was only 51 percent back in 2018.
Ottawa has had close ties with Beijing in the past due to the country’s roaring economy needing lots of natural resources.
During Chretien’s time as Prime minister he sent many large delegations of cabinet ministers and government officials on trade junkets to China.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited China on a state visit back in 2017 in an attempt to kick-start free trade talks with Beijing but the trip was ultimately unsuccessful.
Trade only looks increasingly bleak with the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Ninety percent of respondents said China can’t be trusted on human rights and the rule of law.
The overall views on trade with China were mixed. While respondents were more likely to acknowledge that trade with China has a negative impact on our economy and communities they also felt it was to Canada’s economic benefit as a whole.
The highest level of negative sentiment towards China’s restrictions on beef and canola export came from Alberta and Saskatchewan, the two provinces affected most by the restrictions.
The future of trade was a close split in terms of Canadians optimism towards the relationship. Fifty-four percent of respondents to the poll said that the current diplomatic spat will sort itself out and things will go “back to normal.” While the other forty-six percent felt the relationship is in long-term trouble.