Separate Beds is the shocking story of Canada’s system of segregated health care. Operated by the same bureaucracy that was expanding health care opportunities for most Canadians, the “Indian Hospitals” were underfunded, understaffed, overcrowded, and rife with coercion and medical experimentation. Established to keep the Aboriginal tuberculosis population isolated, they became a means of ensuring that other Canadians need not share access to modern hospitals with Aboriginal patients.
Tracing the history of the system from its fragmentary origins to its gradual collapse, Maureen K. Lux describes the arbitrary and contradictory policies that governed the “Indian Hospitals,” the experiences of patients and staff, and the vital grassroots activism that pressed the federal government to acknowledge its treaty obligations.
A disturbing look at the dark side of the liberal welfare state, Separate Beds reveals a history of racism and negligence in health care for Canada’s First Nations that should never be forgotten.