CENSORSHIP IN NANAIMO: Vancouver Island University administration seized entire issue of The Navigator newspaper after it published an article on crimes against native children at the Nanaimo Indian Hospital, next door to the campus. This happened in early December, 2017. The banned article is reprinted below:
Who and What is buried next door to VIU? Genocide in our own Backyard
A Public Alert issued by the International Tribunal of Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS)
November 15, 2017
“I was used like a guinea pig in the Nanaimo Indian Hospital for over seven years. Lots of children died in there and they’re still lying out in that field somewhere.” – Joan Morris, speaking at Malaspina College (VIU) in March of 2004
Look to the south of the VIU campus across Fifth street and you’ll see a tangle of foliage behind stern barbed wire fencing. For over half a century it was the site of the Nanaimo Indian Hospital (NIH), a prison-like experimental center run by the United Church and the Canadian military. Survivors claim and records confirm that hundreds of children died there from grisly medical experiments and other barbarities.
“They were all aboriginal kids, scooped off reserves or out of the residential schools” describes Joan Morris, a Songhees native woman from Victoria who was incarcerated at the NIH when she was barely five years old.
“The Indian Affairs doctor lied to my mother and said I had TB when I didn’t. They had me in that hospital until I was a teenager. They were always giving me shots and things to drink that made me sick. They’d do surgeries on me. They broke all the bones in my feet so I couldn’t run away. Later, I found out I couldn’t have children. They were sterilizing a lot of the girls in there.”
Joan first surfaced her story more than a dozen years ago at a series of public forums at VIU, known then as Malaspina College. At these forums Joan named the men who experimented on her, like the local Doctors Weinrib and Schmidt who were employed by the Canadian military during the 1960’s and ’70’s. Shortly after Joan gave her talks to handful-sized audiences at the college, the remaining buildings on the NIH grounds were bulldozed down by the City of Nanaimo and the area was padlocked.
“They were always warning us never to talk about what happened to us” describes Joan. “When the hospital closed some army officers came to our home and said we’d go to jail if we talked about it because it was all national security.”
The official censorship went further. In the spring of 1999, shortly after the media first reported the NIH allegations, the federal government “officially sealed” its archives on the NIH and other Indian hospitals across Canada. But separate records held at the UBC Koerner Library confirm that the NIH received major funding from both the Defense Research Board and the United Church of Canada to conduct “classified experimental research” on generations of aboriginal women and children.
“After they grabbed me my mother made a fuss so they put her in there with me too” Joan describes. “They did that to lots of Indian families all over the island. Lots of people were dying in there. Every morning they were taking little dead bodies out of the wards on those metal gurneys. My cousin Nancy Joe saw them bury those kids in the field behind us, up near the highway.”
Esther Morris, a distant relative of Joan, was also incarcerated at the NIH during the 1960’s. In 2007 she too went public.
“They kept me strapped into this weird device so I could never lie down or stand up, just held like that for months on end” says Esther. “I lost the use of my legs. An orderly said it was for space research. It was funny because some of the doctors couldn’t speak English and they needed a translator.”
The NIH was just the tip of a huge iceberg of state and church-sponsored crimes against humanity in Canada that span over a century and have never been prosecuted. Many of these atrocities are documented in the book Murder by Decree: The Crime of Genocide in Canada, Past and Present (2016), a compilation of over twenty years of independent research. Murder by Decree documents how the NIH experiments, including involuntary sterilizations, were performed routinely among west coast Indians by missionary and local doctors. (See it at www.createspace.com/6085632 and www.murderbydecree.com )
Sarah Modeste of the Cowichan Nation was sterilized at the King’s Daughters clinic in Duncan, BC in the early 1950’s by Dr. James Goodbrand. As Sarah describes in Murder by Decree,
“Dr. Goodbrand said to me, ‘If you marry Freddy, I’ll have to do an operation on you because he’s not a Christian’. So later when Goodbrand delivered my first baby after that I was all bruised and hurting. Then I learned I’d been sterilized … Goodbrand told me he was being paid $300 by the government for every Indian woman he sterilized”.
Involuntary sterilizations and medical experiments have been illegal under international law since 1948, and are defined as crimes against humanity. Yet Canada and its churches not only did those crimes but have whitewashed them and absolved themselves of any liability. And not one person has ever been brought to trial in Canada for these wrongs, or for the death of children in these hospitals and residential schools, from where half of the little prisoners never returned.
While Joan Morris and the children who died at the NIH have never had their day in a Canadian court, they have it at an historic trial in Brussels during 2012 and 2013. Based in part on Joan’s testimony and those of dozens of others of survivors of the Canadian genocide, the International Common Law Court of Justice found Canada, its churches and the Crown of England and the Vatican guilty of crimes against humanity.
As a result of this verdict and under international law, Canadians are obligated not to pay their taxes to a convicted criminal regime like their own government – or to fund similarly sentenced bodies like the United Church – lest they be found guilty of colluding in their crimes.
Whatever happens, the atrocity remains. The lost children of the NIH are waiting to be found and brought home for a proper burial. And the VIU community has to ask itself how it can dwell alongside and remain oblivious to genocide in its own backyard: a crime that if not confronted can only continue.
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