"We can no longer pretend we don't know about residential schools, murdered and missing Aboriginal women and 'Indian hospitals.' The only outstanding question is how we respond." —Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun
A shocking exposé of the dark history and legacy of segregated Indigenous health care in Canada.
After the publication of his critically acclaimed 2011 book Drink the Bitter Root: A Writer's Search for Justice and Healing in Africa, author Gary Geddes turned the investigative lens on his own country, embarking on a long and difficult journey across Canada to interview Indigenous elders willing to share their experiences of segregated health care, including their treatment in the "Indian hospitals" that existed from coast to coast for over half a century.
The memories recounted by these survivors—from gratuitous drug and surgical experiments to electroshock treatments intended to destroy the memory of sexual abuse—are truly harrowing, and will surely shatter any lingering illusions about the virtues or good intentions of our colonial past. Yet, this is more than just the painful history of a once-so-called vanishing people (a people who have resisted vanishing despite the best efforts of those in charge); it is a testament to survival, perseverance, and the power of memory to keep history alive and promote the idea of a more open and just future.
Released to coincide with the Year of Reconciliation (2017), Medicine Unbundled is an important and timely contribution to our national narrative.