Hello ~ Tân’si ~ Edlánet’é ~ Dahneh Dha’ ~ Nezu dágóts’e ~ Masì  ~  Ah ~

Oki ~ Aaniin ~ Aba Washded ~  Tawnshi ~  Wa-é ák-wé ~ Bonjour

Welcome to the online home of the Ghosts of Camsell. My interest in the Charles Camsell Hospital began with research for my last book, Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North, when I learned of the tuberculosis x-ray tours of Indigenous communities and how many were sent to the Camsell TB sanatorium – sometimes for years; sometimes never to return home. The Camsell is reputed to be one of Edmonton, Alberta’s most haunted sites and its long, complex past has certainly haunted my imagination. The site, especially when it was set up as an Indian Hospital between 1946 and 1968, is a perfect intersection – and perfect storm – of colonial health policies, aviation, the North, medical history, and residential schools. My hope is this small website, facilitated by the Edmonton City as Museum Project Partnership Demonstration initiative, will start unpacking some of this past. It is only the first step in a long journey of research and reconciliation.

I would love to share in your stories and photos through this project and others that will follow. Also, as a non-Indigenous researcher, I am always looking for partnerships and guidance from Elders and others who can help me understand this shared past – and communicate it respectfully.

 I hope you will join me.

Please note: I am guided by the ethical guidelines and principles for working with Survivors and Aboriginal communities espoused by the Legacy of Hope Foundation.  1) a deep concern and compassion for, and honouring of, Survivors, their families and communities; and 2) a clear understanding of the need for and importance of the oral tradition of Aboriginal peoples. If you have concerns about any of the material on this site, please contact me. If you find yourself triggered by any of the Residential School content, please call the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line for former Residential School students: 1-866-925-4419. For other types of support in the city, please go to the Aboriginal Edmonton Directory.


112 thoughts on “

  1. Alvina Cardinal September 13, 2017 / 2:57 am

    Hi I’m glad I found this link through Facebook and very interested in knowing more about the hospital. I was in hospital for a gallstone operation in 1986 and that was probably almost when it was closed, but I also had a brother who died there around 1965 of and never came home. I always wondered where they buried him. Now I’m thinking this probably where he too was buried. I sure like to know if there’s anyway I could find out where he was buried so I could go visit his grave.


    • historiandmc September 15, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Thanks so much for visiting the site and sharing some of your story. Do you know if your brother was Protestant? If so, his name might be among the list of 98 names on the St. Albert cairn. If not, it’s likely he was buried at Winterburn. Are you in contact with the Enoch Cree Nation? The folks in charge of the archives over there are in the process of working through some of this history and legacy. I can connect you, if you’d like. All my very best, Danielle


      • alvina October 21, 2017 / 5:30 pm

        sure anything would help ..sorry didn’t see this


      • Alvina Cardinal October 28, 2017 / 3:42 pm

        hi yes it would be appreciated of you could hook me up with with the people in Enoch please thanks

        Liked by 1 person

      • historiandmc October 30, 2017 / 6:55 pm

        I just sent you an email with an e-introduction. Hope it works out and you get some answers!


      • John michael charlo February 27, 2018 / 7:05 am

        I got my both ears surgery and my tonsil pull out. I was wondering it was experimental.


      • historiandmc February 27, 2018 / 5:01 pm

        Thanks for leaving a message. Can you tell me roughly what years you were there, please? (also, the topic of ‘experimental surgery’ and medical procedures is quite complex, so I’m trying to think through that with the help of different Indigenous and non-Indigenous resources)


      • clint August 17, 2019 / 10:36 pm

        i wanna knw more about this place


  2. David Lenzi September 21, 2017 / 12:50 am

    The TB epidemic and the quarantining of those poor unfortunate souls who were to lose their lives to this scourge is a dark part of history. I was also unfortunately made even darker by the treatment of natives, Inuit and Inuvialuit. these were times where life was hard for aboriginal people and much of that was due to culture shock. Europeans were as much at fault as anyone because of this clash of cultures. I sincerely hope that everyone can use the mistakes of the past to learn from and together build a much more positive future for everyone.


  3. Fiona M Seniantha August 3, 2018 / 11:51 pm

    My sister n I were in the hospital together one time in 73. We’ve had surgeries on our ears. 5 on my sis n 3 on mine. She barely hears n she’s had to see docs n they tell her someone sure did a job on hers. I am borderline deaf n use aids. I’ve been there few times. But what I don’t like is my hearing loss n ringing in the ears.


  4. Sheryl April 5, 2019 / 4:43 pm

    I was sent to Charles Camsell for a
    Surgery in the late seventies,early eighties. I was sexually assaulted by the intern working with the doctor.
    I can’t remember their names or even the date. I’m wondering how I can recover that information?


    • historiandmc April 8, 2019 / 11:09 pm

      Thank you for submitting this comment and I am so sorry to hear about this assault. I hope you have found help and healing since then and I will do all I can to help you find this information. I’ll email you privately. All my best, Danielle


  5. Janelle September 30, 2019 / 8:06 pm

    My moosum is a survivor from the Charles camsell hospital. He is 83 years old.


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