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The Little-Known Settler Who Fought for Indigenous Rights (Indigenous Health, SPH)

Historian Wendy Wickwire tells the epic story of James Teit in ‘At the Bridge.’ Photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives.
Historian Wendy Wickwire tells the epic story of James Teit in ‘At the Bridge.’ Photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives.

Cultures are stubborn and almost immortal. Many European and Latin American apartment buildings are built like those of Rome, and bullfights are akin in spirit and purpose to gladiatorial combat.

Similarly, Indigenous cultures in Canada have stubbornly survived despite over a century and a half of calculated oppression by white Canadians and their governments. And Canadian governmental culture since Confederation has been equally stubborn in its determination to destroy the peoples it has expropriated.

While Teit continued in that role, he supplied Boas with still more information, lost his Indigenous wife to pneumonia, married a European, and eventually, in 1922, developed bowel cancer. Radiation treatment at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver seemed to have saved him, but late that year, at 58, he died — of a pelvic abscess that he’d been too busy to seek medical help for.

Read the full story on the Tyee.

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