Friday, October 01, 2021

History of what gets attention

 "Hiding in Plain Sight" by Kathleen Mackenzie and Sean Carleton, published the other day by Active History, is more evidence that the refrain "It was never reported... It's not in the history books..."It was all covered up" has never been very accurate.  It has not been about having the evidence, but about paying attention.  

"Hiding in Plain Sight" surveys the detailed reporting on the terrible mortality of residential schools that was published in prominent newspapers and magazines... in 1907.

“Startling rate of mortality" ... "Of a total of 1,537 pupils reported from fifteen school, 7 per cent are sick or in poor health, and 24 per cent are reported dead.” ... "The remarkable mortality of the children from tuberculosis and the unsanitary condition of the schools."

What's changed is the ability and determination of Indigenous peoples across Canada to capture the conversation and make the rest of us pay attention.  And maybe the willingness to pay attention, too, a little.

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