The policy battle that set the stage for a century of residential school death, misery, grief

As Canada’s residential school system gathered homicidal force in 1909, two formidable bureaucrats wrestled for control of its direction in backroom Ottawa.

Dr. Peter Bryce, the crusading chief medical officer of health in the Department of Indian Affairs, wanted the federal government to admit that tuberculosis was out of control in the country’s Indigenous school population, and commit to a wide-ranging effort to improve student health even if it meant turning the church-run schools into medical facilities.

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