Articles by author: Brock University

  • Brock professor’s book explores shocking system of segregated Indigenous healthcare

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00129 – 20 June 2016
    NOTE: On the eve of National Aboriginal Day in Canada (June 21), please see the following story about a new book exploring the history of Indigenous healthcare.

    Doreen Callihoo spent most of her childhood in an Indian hospital undergoing invasive treatments that eventually led to the loss of one of her lungs. Hospitalized at age eight, the First Nations girl spent 11 of the next 12 years in the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital in Edmonton.

    As a tuberculosis patient, she underwent painful pneumothorax treatments twice a week, a procedure in which air was injected into her chest to collapse her lung. She was disfigured when twice she had several ribs removed, more procedures meant to collapse her lung. After a year on antibiotics, Callihoo left the hospital only to return to have her lung surgically removed, likely the result of years of invasive experimental treatments.

    Brock University history professor Maureen Lux says Callihoo’s experience at the Indian hospital was not unusual. Until the 1970s, First Nations and Inuit patients often spent years in hospital undergoing tuberculosis treatments that ranged from bed rest to surgery to antibiotics.

    In her new book Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s-1980s (University of Toronto Press), Lux examines Canada’s system of segregated health care which was rife with coercion and medical experimentation.

    “The purpose of the Indian hospitals was to segregate and isolate Indigenous people from the rest of the population,” Lux says.

    She says the hospitals — which were underfunded, understaffed and overcrowded ? were established to keep Indigenous tuberculosis patients isolated, but soon became a means of ensuring that other Canadians didn’t have to share access to more modern hospitals.

    “Underfunded by design, and situated in redundant military barracks and residential schools, Indian hospitals would never draw personnel and resources from modernizing Canadian hospitals,” Lux says.

    The patients in Indian hospitals received sub-standard care.

    “Aboriginal patients were characterized as careless in their own health and therefore subjected to prolonged institutional treatment, and increasingly invasive surgery, for tuberculosis at a time when most non-Aboriginal patients were treated at home,” Lux says.

    The philosophy behind Indian hospitals was similar to residential schools in that they intentionally isolated Indigenous people and removed them from Canadian society, she says.

    And once again, she says Indigenous people were being told what was best for them with no input from their own communities.

    “It’s only very recently that Indigenous leadership has had any say on how health care is received or delivered in their communities,” Lux says.

    Lux came to the topic of segregated health care for Indigenous people through her research on the health and medical impacts of dispossession and settler capitalism — or colonization — on prairie Indigenous people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That research resulted in the book, Medicine That Walks: Disease, Medicine and Canadian Plains Native People, 1880-1940 (University of Toronto Press).

    In Separate Beds, Lux describes the contradictory policies that governed the Indian hospitals and shares the experiences of patients and staff, and the vital grassroots activism that pressed the federal government to finally acknowledge its treaty obligations.

    Separate Beds is available at the Brock University library or for purchase through University of Toronto Press and Amazon.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock prof examines political rhetoric in U.S. presidential campaigns

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00128 – 20 June 2016

    In this era of political correctness, how is it that U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump is able to get away with such highly inflammatory speech against Muslims, Mexicans and others whom he identifies as threatening?

    According to Brock University Professor of Political Science Stefan Dolgert, the answer may lie in the French word “ressentiment,” which the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as “deep-seated resentment, frustration, and hostility accompanied by a sense of being powerless to express these feelings directly.”

    Combine that with effective story-telling, and you have a powerful tool that is among the oldest in the book for politicians, says Dolgert.

    Dolgert has written a paper — The Praise of Ressentiment: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Donald Trump — published Monday, June 20 in the journal New Political Science (

    In it, he examines how and why past successful political campaigns have used “cultivated ressentiment” to connect with potential voters.

    “They looked for narratives where they could point the finger at a group of people and say, they are the ones to blame,” says Dolgert.

    “This allows movements to take advantage of the anger and woundedness that people feel. You give these people a simple story, where they can attach their own woes to some external enemy.”

    Trump’s “target group” consists largely of white, working-class males in “blue collar America,” who typically do not have a university education, as well as with voters who identify with that demographic, says Dolgert.

    “For this group, it has been really difficult for them to gain back much of what they lost in the 2008 recession and its aftermath,” says Dolgert.

    There are times that Trump blames the wealthy — usually from countries outside the U.S. — as being responsible for a certain amount of peoples’ angst.

    “He’s got this nationalist lens, he’s able to say, ‘Look, I’m for you guys. I’ve been greedy in the past, but now I’m going to be greedy for you people; the game is rigged against you, the average person, so I’m here to help you because I understand the way the world works,’” says Dolgert.

    Dolgert argues that those on the political left waste too much energy trying to “correct” or “fact check” rhetoric from politicians such as Trump.

    Rather, he says, those on the left should create a “ressentiment” narrative of their own of who or what is to blame for peoples’ difficulties.

    Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders did this by pointing the finger at big banks and the wealthy who avoid paying taxes by channeling money through their offshore accounts, a situation recently hitting the headlines through the “Panama Papers” revelations.

    “You are not going to be able to radically change peoples’ perspectives as they head to the polls,” says Dolgert. “What you can do is motivate them to come over to your side if you give them a better story about why they are suffering.”

    Professor of Political Science Stefan Dolgert can be reached directly at

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases