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 in 2012 with research for one of my books, 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.
I created this blog in 2015 through the Edmonton City as Museum Project Partnership Demonstration initiative. It was only the first step in what is a long journey of research and reconciliation that continues to this day. Please keep in mind as you read and view the content on this site that my understandings have grown and shifted in the past six years. I recently received grant funding to complete my book about this complex journey, and to review the content and form of this site. In the meantime, I have been working for free with former patients and their loved ones as best I can. Yes, I make mistakes as a settler-ally all. the. time. Yes, I am accountable to learn and do better. As I work to unlearn harmful ways of thinking and being, and figure out how I can do more good than harm, I ask for your patience and generosity of spirit. I am, of course, always open to constructive feedback.
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.
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.
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 Edmonton, please go to the Aboriginal Edmonton Directory.