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Finding Peter Bryce

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Catalogue Number:  PCI000
Producer:  Peter Campbell
Subject:  Canadian History, Canadian Politics, Canadian Social Issues, Canadian World Studies, Criminal Justice & Law, Documentary, First Nations Studies, Health and Medicine, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Peoples, Social Issues
Language:  English
Grade Level:  6 - 8, 9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2018
Running Time:  23:30

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Dr. Peter Bryce was Ontario’s first Chief of Public Health; his innovations were copied across North America. In the early 20th Century, as the medical officer with oversight res­ponsibilities for Canada’s Residential School System, Bryce identified the shortcomings of the system’s response to malnutrition and tuberculosis. His reports on the epidemics and recommendations for their remedy were set aside by senior government officers and he was relieved of his duties. In 1922, Bryce published Story of a National Crime, describing the tragic consequences. The documentary Finding Peter Bryce reveals that not all settler peoples were blind to the injustice inherent in Canada’s residential school system and the effects of those shortcomings. If citizens were blind to the issues, it was a willful blindness. Dr. Bryce’s perspective was in sharp contrast to that of civil servant Duncan Campbell Scott, whose tragic role as deputy superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs is outlined in the film. But First Nations’ children’s advocate, Cindy Blackstock points out that many of us today find ourselves making similar decisions when there is pressure to conform. Each of us must choose how we respond to the challenge of reconciliation.

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