The Lower Kootenay Band said on Wednesday that ground-penetrating radar had revealed 182 human remains at St Eugene’s Mission residential school,
Assume that all are of children.
The school opened in 1890 and became an industrial school in 1912. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it was the site of recurring outbreaks of influenza, mumps, measles, chicken pox and tuberculosis.
Hmm. Some 5,000 went through that school. That’s a death rate of near 4%.
By today’s standards that’s appallingly, horrendously, high. By general population standards of 300 years ago that’s probably pretty good. The probably because we’ve not really got – or I don’t at least – any real guidance on child mortality. We know roughly what young child mortality was. One in four didn’t see their fifth birthday sorta numbers. 25% that is. But that’s for, obviously enough, under fives. What normal mortality was for those between say, 5 and 15, I don’t know.
Sometime between 300 years ago and today whatever that old mortality rate was declined to today’s. And it declined bit by bit in different places. Child mortality in London was always much higher than in the country for example, it only became self-sustaining in population quite late in history.
What was child mortality – child, 5 to 15 – in Canada generally between 1890 and 1970? What was it among the bands? Then what was it in these schools?
No, I dunno. But those are the numbers we should be trying to see.