On January 22, 1979, an eleven-year-old Native girl died of a ruptured appendix in an Alert Bay, B.C. hospital. The events that followed are chronicled here by Dara Culhane Speck, a member by marriage of the Nimpkish Indian Band in Alert Bay. She has relied mainly on interviews, anecdotes and public records to describe how this small, isolated Native community took on the local hospital, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, provincial and federal ministries of health and national media, because their private tragedy held implications that reached far beyond one child, one physician, one town and even one century.
“Successfully forces the liberal white reader to look beyond totem poles and quaint Indian baskets to our common history.”
Dara Culhane’s first book, An Error in Judgement, probes the controversial 1979 death of a First Nations child who died of an undiagnosed ruptured appendix in Alert Bay, B.C. She continued her work with The Pleasure of the Crown, which offers an in-depth analysis of Aboriginal title litigation in British Columbia and examines the cultural values and biases of the courts from an anthropologist’s point of view.