A shocking exposé of the dark history and legacy of segregated Indigenous health care in Canada.
After the publication of his critically acclaimed 2011 book Drink the Bitter Root: A Writer’s Search for Justice and Healing in Africa, author Gary Geddes turned the investigative lens on his own country, embarking on a long and difficult journey across Canada to interview Indigenous elders willing to share their experiences of segregated health care, including their treatment in the “Indian hospitals” that existed from coast to coast for over half a century.
The memories recounted by these survivors—from gratuitous drug and surgical experiments to electroshock treatments intended to destroy the memory of sexual abuse—are truly harrowing, and will surely shatter any lingering illusions about the virtues or good intentions of our colonial past. Yet, this is more than just the painful history of a once-so-called vanishing people (a people who have resisted vanishing despite the best efforts of those in charge); it is a testament to survival, perseverance, and the power of memory to keep history alive and promote the idea of a more open and just future.
Released to coincide with the Year of Reconciliation (2017), Medicine Unbundled is an important and timely contribution to our national narrative.
Gary Geddes has written and edited more than forty-five books of poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, criticism, translation, and anthologies. He has won more than a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Freedom to Read Award, the British Columbia Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), and the Gabriela Mistral Prize from the government of Chile. He is the author of two best-selling travel memoirs, The Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things and Sailing Home, as well as the critically acclaimed Drink the Bitter Root, which was a finalist for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. He lives on Thetis Island, British Columbia.