University of Winnipeg creating online research guide for TB Hospital patients and their families [Full text below]

A friend sent me this announcement about Dr. Margaret-Anne Lindsay joining the TB History group at the University of Winnipeg. It looks like their aim is to have a website up in January 2022 that will help families and loved ones locate missing tuberculosis patients from the Indian Hospitals.

Dr. Margaret Anne Lindsay

The Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis History Project is thrilled to add Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Anne Lindsay to its team.

We are extraordinarily fortunate to be working with Dr. Lindsay… She has a broad and deep knowledge of Indigenous history, is extraordinarily generous, and has an intellectual curiosity that is infectious and energizing to all around her.


Drawing on her extensive expertise in the records of the Department of Indian Affairs and church organizations, Lindsay will produce an online research guide to assist families and communities attempting to locate the burial places of missing Indigenous tuberculosis patients, including residential school children, who were sent to Manitoba Indian hospitals and sanatoriums.

Lindsay will work under the supervision of UWinnipeg Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Archives, and History Dr. Mary Jane Logan McCallum. 

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to be working with Dr. Lindsay,” said McCallum. “She has reflected on the archival problems and the interpretive and organizational issues associated with investigating the Indigenous history of health care in Manitoba.  She has a broad and deep knowledge of Indigenous history, is extraordinarily generous, and has an intellectual curiosity that is infectious and energizing to all around her.”

Lindsay is a settler scholar, an archivist, and a historian who is currently involved in several efforts to identify and honour the children buried in Residential School cemeteries. Her most recent article, authored in partnership with Cross Lake band member William Osborne, is The Three Sisters, a case study of three sisters whose family spent decades searching for where they were buried.

Finding them was not straightforward.

According to the article, “Access to the combination of records needed to find the three sisters required comfort with written English or French, fluency in records management and archival databases, familiarity with residential schools and Indigenous health-related records, good internet service, and access to computer and printing equipment, as well as the ability to pay for services remotely with either a credit card or cheque.”

Lindsay’s career is focused on archival primary source research, particularly in areas relating to settler interactions with Indigenous peoples. She previously worked as an archivist and researcher for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and has spent years assisting individuals and families research connections to Residential and Indian Hospital Schools.

“She is the expert on records associated with residential and Indian hospital burial records in western Canada,” said Dr. Erin Millions, Research Director for the Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis History Project. “Her work on burials through this postdoc will draw on her expertise gained through years of work with the archival records and Indigenous communities in Manitoba to accelerate efforts to recover the burial sites of missing patients and students.”

The results of this research will be made publicly available as an online research guide to be hosted on a new website planned for January 2022. For more information on this project email 

One chapter closes?

For the people I’ve worked with and the Elders who supervised the site investigations, I think this is bittersweet news: relief that no patients were buried on the grounds, and grief and confusion that there are still so many unanswered questions as to their final resting places.

This is certainly not where the story ends, but perhaps it is the closing of one chapter.

Heartfelt appreciation to the Indigenous Elders and communities and witnesses (like Andrea Jenkins and Lorelei Mullings) who spent so much time drawing attention to this site and ensuring these investigations happened in a good way. To the Indigenous scholars like Dr. Crystal Fraser and Dr. Kisha Supernant at the University of Alberta who have been working on researching and reviewing evidence. To activists like Melissa Cora and Miranda Jimmy who kept the pressure on and asked really hard questions. The Edmonton Heritage Council has also been trying to bring communities, researchers, and volunteers together through the 2016 Camsell Symposium and Indigenous Burial Group.

Thanks also to Gene Dub and his company for funding the site search, and realizing how important these steps are.

One thing that keeps coming up is that the Federal Government won’t help fund these investigations on former Indian Hospital sites because they are not Indian Residential Schools. But the two are intimately connected, with children being shuttled back and forth from the ‘Schools’ (where they often caught tuberculosis in the first place), to the hospitals.

Perhaps the class action lawsuit that got underway in 2018 will pressure the government to take on this responsibility.

Here’s a round-up of other news coverage this week:

‘Where did they go?’: No human remains found on Charles Camsell Hospital grounds

For full text and video, please click HERE,


Nothing has been found after two more days of searching for unmarked graves at the site of a former “Indian hospital” in central Edmonton.

Crews completed the last of 34 excavations on the Charles Camsell Hospital grounds Friday – after ground-penetrating radar pointed to “anomalies” under the soil.

“We’re happy that nothing has been found here to date,” Papaschase Elder Fernie Marty said.


“No bodies, no bones of any kind, no human remains, so that’s a good thing. Now to find where the bodies did go to. Where did they go?”

Marty said he still believes there are unmarked graves somewhere in or around Edmonton.

He bases that off of stories he’s heard about people disappearing and accounts from former staff members he’s spoken to directly about things that happened in the hospital.

“A lot of evil stuff went on here. This place, in my opinion, should have been burned to the ground or blown up,” he said.

“You couldn’t give me a place to live here. I wouldn’t live here. Too much horror went on.”

The hospital building is now being converted to condos, owned by local architect Gene Dub.

Dub paid more than $200,000 for the search.

“I think we owe it to those families to search these grounds,” Dub said. “To find, truthfully whether they’re here.”

“His heart is in a good place,” Marty said of Dub, adding plans to add a commemorative stone to the property were appreciated by him and other Elders.

Starting in the 1930s, 31 hospitals were built in Canada with the goal of treating tuberculosis in Indigenous people – but according to the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia, the hospitals were understaffed and used “experimental treatment” on their patients.

A class-action lawsuit brought forth in 2018 alleges patients suffered sexual and physical abuse, including forced sterilization, at these hospitals.

The Indigenous groups involved in the Camsell search said they will continue to seek answers – and possibly search other sites in the Edmonton area.

With files from CTV National News’ Bill Fortier

Summerlong gatherings for awareness of Indigenous unmarked graves to wrap up this weekend

Advocates gathered at the former Camsell hospital site and two Enoch burial grounds

Janet French · CBC News · Posted: Sep 25, 2021 7:00 AM MT | Last Updated: September 25

Andrea Jenkins (left) and Lorelei Mullings began a protest and awareness campaign in the Edmonton area about the tragedies of residential schools in the summer, after 751 unmarked graves were discovered near a residential school site on Saskatchewan’s Cowessess First Nation. (Submitted by Lorelei Mullings)

It was only supposed to be one day in June.

Two friends, overcome by sadness about discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential school sites, staged a protest at the site of Edmonton’s former Charles Camsell Hospital.

Andrea Jenkins and Lorelei Mullings wanted people to know there could be unmarked graves at the site, which was once home to a segregated hospital for Indigenous people.

People stopped by, and some of them offered to join. By summer’s end, dozens of people had spent 75 days on the awareness campaign, in three locations where elders believe people are buried.

“People just kept coming, and saying, you know, I could do another week. And it just snowballed into this,” Jenkins said.

With autumn’s approach, those outdoor protests will reach an end this week.

Supporters will gather Saturday and Sunday afternoon at an Enoch Cree Nation burial ground in Glastonbury.

On Thursday, for Orange Shirt Day, they will reconvene at 11 a.m., laying flowers at the three burial sites and praying for the people who never came home from residential schools or the Camsell Hospital.

“We’ve achieved quite a bit in doing this,” Jenkins said. “Some of these people who’ve stopped by, who weren’t familiar with residential schools or even the Indian hospitals, left with a new awareness and a new understanding of why Indigenous people deal with some of the things they have to deal with, to this day.”

Jenkins is Métis. Her mother, grandmother, uncle and other relatives attended residential school in the Northwest Territories. She heard stories from her mother, and overheard her family talking about it. Her grandmother’s experience was so awful, she never would.

They had no voice as children, Jenkins says, and so she is using hers.

A place to talk

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation estimates more than 4,000 children died in residential schools based on records, but has said the total could be much higher. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard survivors share stories of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the schools.

Some sick adults and children from Alberta and the north who were taken to the Camsell hospital were buried in unmarked graves when they died. Ninety-four of them are memorialized on a cairn in a St. Albert cemetery. Elders say others burials remain unmarked.

The hospital is one of 29 named in a class-action lawsuit, in which survivors allege patients were abused, forcibly sterilized and experimented on without permission.

On June 24, the Cowessess First Nation in southern Saskatchewan announced a preliminary ground-penetrating radar search had identified what appears to be 751 unmarked graves at a former residential school site.

That spurred Jenkins and her friend Mullings into action.

Over many summer days, they’ve hosted drummers and singers, held traditional ceremonies, erected a teepee near Winterburn Road, and talked— to people who were naive about what happened and to people who need to talk about what happened.

“I’ve had people come up to us and apologize and say they had no idea,” said Mullings, who is from the Enoch Cree Nation. “And come crying. And I’m like, ‘It’s OK, you know?’ This is what we want to do, is just reach out to others.”

She hopes it also dispelled some prejudices about Indigenous people, one conversation at a time.

“I would love people to look at us not one sided,” she said. “To understand that we all have a story.”

Supporters will be at the unmarked burial grounds at the east end of Garnett Point from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They plan to stay active online in the Free Our Indigenous Children Facebook group.

Search for unmarked graves resumes at site of former Camsell Hospital in Edmonton

Full text from this CBC article.

Second phase of excavation work will take a close look at 21 detected anomalies

Stephen David Cook · CBC News · Posted: Oct 21, 2021 7:30 AM MT | Last Updated: October 21

Excavation crews started investigating 21 spots of interest at the site of the former Camsell Hospital on Thursday. (Stephen Cook/CBC)

Excavation work resumed Thursday morning at the site of the former Camsell Hospital, the Edmonton facility that for decades was used to treat Indigenous people with tuberculosis — and where some of those patients are believed to have died and been buried on the grounds.

The Inglewood-neighbourhood area near the hospital, located at 128th Street and 114th Avenue, has been slated for the construction of residential properties.

This summer, the developer initiated a ground-penetrating radar search; crews dug up 13 spots that were flagged but only found debris.

But only a portion of the property was searched in that first phase. Over the next few days, crews will excavate 21 anomalies detected along its eastern side.

“There have been reports and stories over the years about people that were at the Camsell that passed away being buried on-site, specifically in the southeast corner of the property,” Chief Calvin Bruneau of the Papaschase First Nation said Wednesday.

Papaschase elders will again be present to observe the work, he said. If remains are found, Bruneau said next steps will require input from multiple treaty areas.

Indigenous people from across the Northwest Territories and northern Alberta were sent to what was then called the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital. It started accepting patients in 1945 when it was run by the federal government. The hospital was eventually transferred to the province and closed in 1996.

For decades, former patients shared accounts of people being buried at the hospital. 

There are reports of physical, mental and sexual abuse, accounts of forced sterilization, shock therapy and experiments with tuberculosis vaccines on patients without their consent.

Victor Bruno was present for a ceremony held before excavation work started Thursday. (Ariel Fournier/CBC)

Victor Bruno, an elder from Maskwacis, Alta., spent 26 months at the hospital in the 1950s when he was a child.

“We definitely went through a lot of abuse,” he said Thursday. “I once told my friend I felt like I went through a torture chamber.”

Bruno, a survivor of the Ermineskin Indian Residential School, remembers only being able to wave at his parents through shut windows when they made the journey to visit.

He believes he contracted tuberculosis because of the condition of residential schools.

“They weren’t looked after properly.”

Searching for closure

The search is being funded by the property’s developer. Architect Gene Dub said he was moved to act by the discovery of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“When Kamloops was discovered, suddenly we felt this area had to be searched to bring more truth and clarity to the situation.”

The cost is expected to run between $200,000 and $250,000.

Dub said the area being investigated is planned for eight single-family homes but if any remains are found they will not be built.

A memorial garden is planned for the northern side of the property.

The property is on the traditional lands of the Papaschase people, who have been fighting for years to regain recognition as an official First Nation.

Bruneau said supporting the effort to help find any possible remains is part of being a steward for the city.

“If they died there then they were just buried and without any proper respect or ceremony,” he said.

“And so it’s about respecting our people and our loved ones and then trying to bring closure to families.”

Workers have marked out areas of interest at the site of the former Camsell Hospital with stakes. Excavation work is set to resume Thursday. (Andreane Williams/CBC)

The second phase of excavation work will take a close look at 21 detected anomalies. (David Bajer/CBC)

Q&A: Justice for survivors of Nanaimo ‘Indian Hospital’ depends in part on political will, says class-action lawyer

Q&A: Justice for survivors of Nanaimo ‘Indian Hospital’ depends in part on political will, says class-action lawyer

Lawyer Steven Cooper explains where the class action lawsuit stands and what’s needed to restore justice.

Lauren Kaljur

October 7, 2021

Support this work.Tell a friend.

This article contains information about “Indian hospitals.” Please read with care and reach out if you need support. The Indian Residential School Survivor Society’s Crisis Line can be reached any time at 1-866-925-4419.

In January 2021, a class action representing survivors of former “Indian hospitals” across Canada was certified by the Federal Court.

The class lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada alleges that the “Canadian government was negligent in the funding, oversight, operation, supervision, control, maintenance and support of Indian Hospitals,” and is liable for the various abuses endured by those who—often forcefully—attended them.

Steven Cooper of the Edmonton-based Masuch Law LLP is a co-council lawyer for the class. His law firm is one of four collectively representing people who were mistreated and abused in at least 29 of these segregated, federally-run institutions across Canada. Among these was the former Nanaimo “Indian Hospital,” the second largest of its kind in Canada, that operated on Snuneymuxw First Nation territory from 1946 to 1967.

Related: Community helps fund search of former Nanaimo “Indian Hospital” grounds

The representative plaintiff is Ann Cecile Hardy, member of the Métis Nation, who was a patient at Charles Camsell Indian Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta in 1969.

The Discourse interviewed Cooper to better understand the class action and where it stands today. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

What are the allegations in this claim?

The allegations themselves are quite simple and quite common, which is that the federal government set up a purposely designed system, the purpose of which was to provide minimal and often inferior and often negligent medical care to the Indigenous population, separate from the non-Indigenous population. 

And so Camsell hospital as an example (and, frankly, one that I’m most familiar with, having been raised in the Northwest Territories) is where everybody by the ‘80s, Indigenous and non-Indigenous were going. My own mother went to Camsell hospital because of a medical issue in the ‘80s. So there were wings, apparently, where the Indigenous population was still being treated separately from the non-Indigenous population. 

It reflects the fact that these institutions were set up to provide a modicum of care, but never approaching a standard that was expected by society, that the settlers’ colonial approach, so that the care that my mother would have gotten would have presumably been comparable to any other hospital, as opposed to an Indigenous friend of hers, who would have been treated with much less care. 

One really good example is Ann Cecile Hardy, who is the representative plaintiff, who came from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories to the Camsell hospital as a 10-year-old child when she came down with [Tuberculosis.]. They were about to perform a significant lung operation to remove a lung or part of it, and they didn’t even consider contacting her parents for permission. 

Now, Fort Smith at the time was one of the few isolated locations where there was telephone service in the ‘70s. If Cecile had come from a community farther north, there might not have been telephones. 

Number 1, they should have phoned her mother, and would she have not been Indigenous, it wouldn’t have been a question. 

Fortunately, Ann found the resources and some coins to use a payphone to phone her parents. They literally drove all night—it’s about a thousand miles from Fort Smith to Edmonton—and got there to stop the operation, which as it turned out, didn’t happen and she didn’t need. 

There was an attempt to operate on her. She was sexually abused. She was physically abused. She suffered from medical malpractice. She’s sort of the epitome of a representative plaintiff. Her circumstances really truly reflect the commonality of the group. 

So that gives you a very tangible example—in this case, of a representative plaintiff—who is treated as a second class or third class citizen in Canada and in our lifetime. This didn’t happen in the ‘30s or ‘40s. This happened in the ‘70s. 

And that’s really the basis of the allegations, is that the children that were there, the patients that were there, were not protected from sexual abuse, from physical abuse from negligence, from bad foods, from treatments that weren’t necessary.

What about consent? Don’t all individuals have the right to make decisions about their medical care?

I suspect, and this is part of what the historians will tell us and the experts will tell us, that the notion of consent was never [considered to be] important.

For example, we have what are called the skin grafting cases from Igloolik. Nobody thought about consent, certainly none was sought, none was given, let alone informed consent. 

Remember that legislation itself prohibited Indians as defined under the Act, which include what they called the “Eskimos” at the time, from even hiring a lawyer. [It would have been] inconceivable for a non-Indigenous person to have had that restriction. 

The government simply treated the Indigenous population, First Nations, Métis and Inuit as almost “wards of the state.”

Now, that’s come back to haunt them, because we sort of use that philosophy as a basis of some of the compensation that’s sought. If you want to take over an obligation, that comes with certain responsibilities.

So you know, ever since 1763, when good old King George III said, “You are my people,” the colonial powers have often presumed that they have the authority to proceed without consent, informed or otherwise.

And the example that I gave you with respect to the representative plaintiff Ann Cecile Hardy, is a good one, because they didn’t even consider it essential in the modern age in the 1970s to be seeking consent of the parents of a 10-year-old child for the most invasive surgery that one could imagine. 

Was it illegal? Of course it was. Was it perceived as illegal? Probably not. And that’s the problem, that nobody had the voice to speak. 

Editor’s Note: In the 2020 report about Indigenous racism in B.C. healthcare, In Plain Sight, the authors point to an incident described in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings. When a University of British Columbia medical genetics faculty member approached the principal of Kuper Island Residential “School” in 1968 about experimenting on the children there, he refused to participate, citing the need to contact their parents. “The importance of parental consent was clearly apparent to this principal,” the report notes, “further emphasizing the unethical — yet broadly accepted — actions of his colleagues at the other schools.”  

What’s the status of the Nanaimo “Indian Hospital” class action?

So what happens is, in a class action like this, we need to convince the court or, even better, we need to convince the government that there is a common group of people with a common group of issues that should be tried together. And that’s what we’ve done. They consented to the certification.  They agree, at this point, without us having to convince a court, there’s a case here to be heard.

The next issue becomes what years are covered, because these institutions tended to evolve and change. These hospitals were part of a more formal federal system around the years of 1947 to 1948. But it wasn’t as if, on one day, they all became federal institutions. Nor, as they move through their tenure, did they remain the same. Some got taken over by the province, some shut down, some got taken over by other institutions. 

Much like other large classes like this, such as the Federal Day Schools Class Action, that’s something that will have to be negotiated or settled by a court. But Nanaimo is certainly at the center of the group of hospitals that will be covered by whatever the outcome is.

The next issue is the number of people covered. So we’re talking with the federal government representatives and, at the same time, our experts, actuaries and historians are doing their own work, looking at numbers, working together and comparing those to see if we can come up with a common number.

Those numbers help us define what any trial or settlement might look like. It’s different when you’re dealing with 50,000 people than if you’re dealing with 100,000 people, or 5,000 people. So we’re getting a handle on that. 

One of the struggles that we’re going through right now on both sides is at what point were certain medical procedures no longer considered good medicine. So for example, body casts—we’ve heard many anecdotal stories at this point—were used to discipline children who wouldn’t stay in their room. Some of the children literally had their legs tied to the hospital bed. But others allege they were actually threatened and were ultimately put in full body casts.

This wouldn’t have happened to non-Indigenous children. It’s just inconceivable that it would have happened, particularly when the parents were around. So those are the sorts of allegations that we’re dealing with. And these allegations, some are historical, but many of them are very modern. I mean, certainly during my lifetime, up into the 1980s.

And then the discussions that take place, as we work towards trial, include what do we agree on? What don’t we agree on? So even if we can’t settle, we can at least agree upon a whole bunch of issues, theoretically leaving the areas we can’t agree upon up to a judge. 

That’s where we are right now. We’re slowly working towards trial, but also slowly working on the potential for settlement. Though we remain confident that, under the right government with the right reconciliation proposal, the class action will settle.I don’t think you’ll see much for the next maybe six to 12 months.

Will the “Indian Hospital” class action to court?

It’s really hard to predict how these things are going to work out. It really depends on whether there’s a settlement or if you go to trial. Most cases of this nature these days, under this government, don’t tend to get to trial for a variety of reasons. 

In fact, when we were in Newfoundland and Labrador in the residential school claim there, the judge noted that this was the first time this type of claim had ever gone to trial. And there was an election, resulting in the current prime minister being elected for his first term. Three months later, the matter was settled. So we never did even finish that trial.

So you know, we certainly hope this remains with the current administration. Because our experience with the Conservative forebears under Stephen Harper were 10 years of no-holds-barred litigation. That’s not a political statement. It’s just the reality of dealing with these types of things.

The philosophy behind settlements really is dependent on the government of the day and where, politically, reconciliation fits. 

Are there any issues with accessing the records due to privacy concerns?

The numbers of documents are in the hundreds of thousands. And yes, there is the issue of the personal nature of some of the material. But these types of files are all aggregated for purposes of moving ahead to settlement or trial. We use actuaries, we use statistics, we use trends, and only if there’s a settlement or a finding in favour of the class do we get in and really drill down into the personal data.

According to researchers, some of the Nanaimo “Indian Hospital” records have either been lost or destroyed. Will this present a problem?

At this point, the nature of litigation is that the party who holds the documents is responsible for collating them and providing them, and that’s by and large the federal government. But there are provincial archives, municipal archives, even private archives. There is enough material available in the principal government archives to get where we need to go at this point that we aren’t likely to drill down and look for other documents that may or may not have been destroyed, in one form or another. 

Almost every record that is produced is represented in some form of summary. That probably was not destroyed, even if the principal document was. So we’ll know for example, from the quarterly reports, how many patients were in, how long they were in for, what they are in for, how much food they ate. Those sorts of things tend to be summarized in a different location, which gives us some certainty that we’ll find what we need. 

Why should people pay attention to this claim?

If you want to understand the problems we’re having now, today, you’ve got to understand the history. And that involves understanding and acknowledging the “Indian hospital” system as an expansion of the residential school system, as an extension of the whole “kill the Indian in the child” philosophy of both the Canadian government and, before them, even the United States government. And this was all part of the treatment of individuals as second class citizens. There’s a reason why the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was called that, because so much of what we experienced here was reflected in the apartheid in South African experience. 

You have to understand the impact that residential “schools” had, that the ‘60s Scoop had, that “Indian hospitals” had. The RCMP discrimination problem is ongoing, and we have two class actions going involving RCMP discriminatory behaviour against people in custody, both in northern Canada and southern Canada.

And class actions, whatever people think of them — it forces the government and, through them, the public — to face the reality of our past. 

What should people do if they think they may be part of the Nanaimo “Indian Hospital” claim?

At this point, we don’t know what the class definition will look like, since it’s being negotiated. But if you’re a survivor, you’re part of the class whether you know it or not. If there’s a settlement, there’s a huge notice period. There will be millions of dollars spent on radio spots, notices, television spots, to try to identify as many people as possible.

If you don’t opt out within that period of time, then you’re in. If there is a settlement at some point or a decision and you don’t apply for compensation, you’ll have a period of time to apply, after which you’re out of luck. 

It’s really important for people, if you’re a survivor of the “hospital” system, or you think might have been, to please contact our office and we’ll put you into a database. 

The database is really important for two reasons. Number 1, it keeps you, the survivor, informed. And the other reason is it gives us critical data that we pass on to experts. We’ll be able to say, for instance, we have 40 people who have contacted us in our database that went into Nanaimo “Indian Hospital” and suffered these types of abuses in these years. 

We’ll be able to say, ‘But don’t forget about that situation in Nanaimo where this happened, this year,’ so that we can try to include that in the settlement. If we don’t know about it, it’s not going to be there and it’ll be too late after the fact. 

So please contact us. The number to our office toll free is 1-800-994-7477. You can also contact us at info at And then we’ll send you a form. Fill it out to the best of your ability. It’s not a test, you won’t be marked. And we never give out any personal information. Even if you just include your name and address and phone number, at least we know where to find you. 

Editor’s Note Oct. 15, 2021: We updated the headline of the story to describe members of this class as survivors rather than victims.

“A time for change”

“A time for change:” Teepee standing tall on Edmonton’s Winterburn Road to raise awareness of unmarked graves and residential schools

Author of the article: Kellen Taniguchi Publishing date: Aug 25, 2021  

(Left to right) Ocean Sauvee, Kipp Morin, Lorelei Mullings and Andrea Jenkins will hold a multiday vigil at Enoch Cree Nation next to an unmarked gravesite where people from the Northwest Territories and northern Alberta who died at the Charles Camsell Hospital were buried west of Edmonton, on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak
(Left to right) Ocean Sauvee, Kipp Morin, Lorelei Mullings and Andrea Jenkins will hold a multiday vigil at Enoch Cree Nation next to an unmarked gravesite where people from the Northwest Territories and northern Alberta who died at the Charles Camsell Hospital were buried west of Edmonton, on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak PHOTO BY IAN KUCERAK /Postmedia

After spending 50 days outside the former Charles Camsell Indian Hospital, Lorelei Mullings and Andrea Jenkins are hoping to call attention to one more of Edmonton’s unmarked gravesites.

A large teepee was erected along Winterburn Road Tuesday to help mark a new site where Mullings and Jenkins, along with other members of the Free Our Indigenous Children Facebook group, aim to raise more awareness of residential schools and unmarked graves leading up to Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30.

Mullings said she believes discussions have died down and it is important to keep talking about the effects residential schools had on Indigenous people.

“We want to bring awareness and it still needs to be heard. The only way I can do it instead of just sitting back and posting and sharing is to be here,” said Mullings. “It’s part of my own healing, too, as well and to stick up for our people who don’t have this voice or can’t stand out, and for the ones that have died and suffer, that’s all I can do, that’s all we can do.”

Mullings said there is another unmarked gravesite at 7301 199 Street NW, but the site they chose shares a connection to the former Camsell site.

“A lot of bodies were brought from the Charles Camsell and buried here and according to people who live out here … there are bodies out here that don’t have a name, no identity,” said Jenkins. “So, we just felt we wanted to maintain that connection while still bringing awareness to people.”

The group plans to have representatives on location from Tuesday to Saturday starting at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. weekly until Sept. 29.

Jenkins said anyone is welcome to stop by the new site to ask questions, learn about Indigenous culture or learn to smudge. Mullings added they don’t have a set schedule of things to do and they don’t want to set one.

“If they come here and want to sing, if they come here and they want to dance, they want to tell stories, they just want to talk and heal, that’s what we’re about,” said Mullings.

At the conclusion of their time at the Charles Camsell Hospital, those who stopped by and took part in the activities there made a list of things they learned during the seven-week period. One group made a list of 19 things they learned or took away from the site, including taking steps to reconciliation, learning from the stories, making friends and supporting others with their healing journey.

Alberta had the most residential schools, said Mullings, and she believes that means there will be many more unmarked gravesites found in the province.

Mullings and Jenkins hope Edmontonians who stop by the site will leave with a similar experience.

“This is a time for change with these children being discovered,” said Jenkins. “I think there needs to be change now for people to recognize that we’re not going anywhere, we’re here to stay and we’re just asking for a little more respect, a little more recognition. We are not who you think we are, get to know who we are as people.”

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line for survivors is open 24-hours for emotional and crisis referral services 1-866-925-4419.

Ceremony, Investigation and Negotiations

There have been several news stories in the past few days that I’m including below. I hope it’s useful to have these collected in one place:

Lorelei Mullings holds her three week-old grandson Micah Mindus-Morin on the grounds of the former Charles Camsell Indian Hospital, in Edmonton, Monday Aug. 9, 2021. Mullins is a co-organizer of a protest that has been on site nearing 50 straight days, to bring awareness to the discovery of over 5,000 unmarked graves at Canada’s former residential school sites. PHOTO BY DAVID BLOOM /Postmedia

“Even if graves are found, those looking for answers may not get them.

Records are scarce and DNA testing is possible but expensive, Bruneau says.

He also hopes former patients or a witnesses who may have details that could help with the search will come forward, though he knows speaking about the past can be painful.

“It seems like a good thing that they’re finding all these graves, but its also opening up old wounds.”

Elder Fernie Marty from the Papaschase First Nation, monitors the covering of dig sites on the grounds of the former Charles Camsell Hospital, in Edmonton Friday Aug. 6, 2021. Eleven sites were excavated on the grounds of the former hospital Thursday Aug. 5 after ground penetrating radar identified anomalies. No human remains or artifacts were found in the 11 sites, but Papaschase First Nation oral history says there are unmarked graves on the north east section of the property, which have not yet been searched. The hospital had served as a tuberculosis treatment centre for Indigenous peoples. Photo by David Bloom PHOTO BY DAVID BLOOM DAVID BLOOM /David Bloom/Postmedia
  • Updated article on the Indian Hospitals Class Action suit by Koskie Minsky and the Federal Government’s attempts to negotiate a settlement out of court [a correction: this suit is not new, as is stated in the article. It was launched several years ago]

“I think that people need to know that this happened in our hospitals, it happened recently and we need to acknowledge it,” [Chief Complainant Ann] Hardy told CTV News. 

“I know that sometimes Canadians think they’re just hearing too much of it, and ‘Why can’t we just get over it?’ and I think we’re not going to be able to, in my case, until we fully expose that this happened.” 

‘More work to be done’: First survey finds no unmarked burial sites at Camsell Hospital

Article from –

EDMONTON — Crews in Edmonton have started excavating the grounds surrounding the Charles Camsell Hospital looking for unmarked burial sites.

The former hospital is located in what is now Edmonton’s Inglewood neighbourhood and was used as a tuberculosis treatment centre for First Nations and Inuit patients.

For decades, patients from across Alberta and northern Canada were sent to the hospital for treatment. Many local Indigenous leaders recall how it was more commonly referred to as the “Indian Hospital.”

Others recall how patients sometimes were subjected to abuse, forced sterilization, and medical experiments.

Architect Gene Dub purchased the site with the intent to redevelop the area. He has now hired a company to scan the area once more, prior to any construction progress is made.

“After the shock of Kamloops we thought we better make sure there aren’t any burials that are not recorded,” Dub said.

The architect said in 2008, three reports were completed that concluded no burial sites were located at the Camsell location.

“That was just (looking at) recorded burials,” Dub said.


“The new surveys identified 11 potential areas of concern.

“We are daylighting, or opening up those 11 areas, to see if there is any possibility that they are burials.”

So far, crews found debris, copper wire, concrete slabs, and other material from previous buildings located at the site.

Dub described how crews excavated each site one inch at a time to the depth the ground penetrating radar indicated.

One-third of the entire site has been surveyed and Dub says the plan is to continue surveying and searching to provide closure to Indigenous families. He hopes the remainder of the grounds can [be] searched with the aid of federal or provincial funding.

Members of the Papaschase First Nation are taking part in the search efforts and observing as crews excavate.

Shiela Desjarlais, a representative from Papaschase First Nation acting as an observer at the site, said there has been oral history for generations about unmarked burial sites at the Camsell Hospital.

Desjarlais said it is “important work” being completed.“

People are now hearing us when we’ve been talking about it for so long,” she shared. “We’ve always known.“

The fact now that somebody is saying, ‘Let’s look,’” she added, “gives us that confirmation.”“It’s very emotional.”

As an observer, Desjarlais said Indigenous community members are present, ensure ceremony is observed, and that the process is respectful.

“The fact that we get to be part of it is really helpful,” she said. “Being able to watch to see what they are finding.”


Elder Fernie Marty said there’s still lots of work to be done.

He’s pleased no remains have been located to this point but recognizes there is still lots more site left to search. Marty shared how Indigenous elders have indicated that the southeast part of the site had an unmarked burial area. That part of the site is next to be searched.


“There was a lot of atrocities that went on at this hospital,” Marty said. “I know people that came to here years ago.

“All kinds of atrocities that shouldn’t have happened, happened here,” he added. “They’ve got a lot more work to do.”

Contact the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll-free 1 (800) 721-0066 or 24-hour Crisis Line 1 (866) 925-4419 if you require further emotional support or assistance.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Touria Izri

Further GPR work possible to find unmarked graves on former Indian hospital grounds

By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tue., July 20, 2021

A five-inch bone fragment alleged to have been found on the grounds of the former Charles Camsell Indian Hospital in Edmonton is not from a human.

Architect Gene Dub, who is in the process of developing the site with residences, says he received verbal confirmation from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) that the coroner had determined the bone to be from an animal. The bone was turned into Dub a couple months ago by someone who said it had been found it on the site. In turn, Dub contacted the EPS.

While that mystery has been solved, Dub is still waiting to hear back on the results from ground penetrating radar (GPR) that was conducted in June on the southeast portion of the Camsell site where no excavation work has taken place.

Dub’s development plan sees that area slated to contain eight single-family dwellings along with a one-acre park.

Dub commits to making the findings public, but says he will first be consulting with Calvin Bruneau, chief of the Papaschase band in Edmonton, and Dr. Kisha Supernant, director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archeology with the University of Alberta, who has overseen the methodology of the GPR work.

GPR findings are not definitive and indicate only anomalies in the ground that may be burials. Based on the probability of burials, the decision may be made to uncover some of the areas to determine exactly what has been found.

“We wouldn’t want to decide without input from all the parties and those parties would be perhaps Indigenous peoples who were involved in the hospital, whose relatives were there,” said Dub, who is certain those who are interested will approach him.

Bruneau says there are stories that surround this one-acre parcel of land as burial grounds.

“People who had gone to the Camsell, that’s where they were pinpointing over the years, the southeast corner of the property,” he said.

The site in the Inglewood neighbourhood first housed a Jesuit College before being leased to the American military. Shortly after, the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps took it over as a military hospital for veterans.

It became the Indian Hospital in 1945, operating in that capacity until 1979. It served primarily as a tuberculosis sanatorium, bringing Indigenous patients from western provinces, the western Arctic and the sub-Arctic.

There are many stories by former patients and relatives of mistreatment of Indigenous people at the hospital, some of which have been documented in books.

Bruneau says those who died in the hospital were buried at the Poundmaker residential school grounds (now Poundmaker Lodge), Winterburn (on Enoch Cree Nation), and St. Albert.

But it was the accounts of the burials on the grounds of the Camsell that Bruneau discussed with Dub before the COVID pandemic hit. However, says Bruneau, Dub “was skeptical.”

Dub admits it was the uncovering of 200 graves at the former Kamloops residential school, coupled with his earlier discussions with Bruneau, that pushed him to undertake the GPR.

“It is disturbing (that Dub waited until the Kamloops uncovering), but the thing is, it is good he’s taking that approach where, like he knows, there’s a very real possibility here that human remains are here and we better deal with it,” said Bruneau.

Dub is now considering going a step further, undertaking GPR along the east property line. It’s a two- to three-acre area where there are no longer buildings. The buildings that were there were only up for five to 10 years and didn’t have basements.

“We’re trying to imagine what areas there possibly could have been burials and that’s one that could have had burials before the buildings were built,” said Dub.

That decision won’t be made until the results come in from the first GPR study. Those results are expected later this week.

What will happen if burials are confirmed on the grounds is unclear.

“I don’t know if you want to take them out … especially the way things are (with the uncovering of other gravesites). It could re-open more wounds,” said Bruneau. “I think it would be better if it was sectioned off, fenced off and that area protected.”

Dub has already committed to a commemorative identification for those impacted by the Camsell.

He also said that if a burial ground were found in the southeast corner, he would not go ahead with his planned development.

The overall project involves the hospital being converted into housing; 20 townhouses built to the north of the hospital and a seniors project to the south. Land to the west has been zoned for an apartment, but there are no plans at this time to build that apartment.