Crusading for the forgotten: Dr. Peter Bryce, public health, and prairie native residential schools.
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This article examines the rise of the public health movement and its impact on native affairs in Canada at the turn of the century. It focuses on the efforts of Peter Bryce, Chief Medical Officer for the Departments of the Interior and Indian Affairs, to improve conditions in native schools and on reserves. In 1907 Bryce released his controversial Report on the Indian Schools of Manitoba and the North West Territories, revealing that 24 percent of all native residential school students had died of tuberculosis. Believing firmly that the state was responsible for promoting the health and welfare of its people, Bryce insisted that the federal government address this high death rate. His tireless crusade on behalf of the native population demonstrated the extent to which native affairs were influenced by the broader social, political, and economic agendas of the day, and anticipated the federal government's changing role in social services following World War I.
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