Update: I was confused about two related cases. It is Makayla Sault who had the fundamentalist Christian parents. The CBC show, White Coat, Black Art did a show on her case which is identical to this girl’s as she is an Aboriginal child with leukaemia whose parents stopped her treatment in favour of receiving treatment in Florida. Sadly but predictably, Makayla is now critically ill. I have updated the article with this information.
Wayne K. Spear has written about the 11-year-old-Brantford-area-girl whose parents, after her case was brought to court, took her off the chemotherapy treatment she was receiving for leukaemia, at McMaster Children’s Hospital, in favour of traditional medicine. My earlier article about this case concentrated on the fact that the chemotherapy gave the child a 99% survival rate while this so-called traditional medicine (actually wooish treatment from a charlatan in Florida) assures her death.
I was pleased to see that Spear’s article agrees about the non-traditional woo aspect of the treatment. Spear writes:
From my point of view it would be gratifying to see the cause of indigenous rights asserted on something actually indigenous, rather than upon the creative practices of a Florida massage therapist or the proposal that Jesus cures. In some hospitals, an intergrationst (sic) approach has been taken, in which elders and cultural potocols (sic) have been brought into the institution. Belief in a culture doesn’t have to manifest itself in absolutist choices between supposed cultural purity and betrayal. Unless, I suppose, one is an absolutist.
This campaign — a mixture of Christianity, alternative medicines, New Age dabbling, and traditional herbs — strikes me as an abuse of cultural integrity, rather than its defence. Unfortunately I’ve arrived too late: Justice Gethin Edward has already given the business a seal of approval.
Moreover, Spear also speaks about Makala Sault, the Aboriginal girl who, like this girl, has leukaemia and like this girl was taken off chemotherapy and given “traditional medicine”. What didn’t get much attention in the media is “the belief and active prominence of the parents in a fundamentalist Christian sect that teaches the merits of faith healing.” Sadly but predictably, Makayla is now critically ill.
Spear speaks about the complexity around the broken relationship with First Nations, Children’s Services (booted out of Oshweken) and more. I urge you to read his article; he has some good and accurate insights.