University of Winnipeg Professor and Canada Research Chair Dr. Mary Jane Logan McCallum has been honoured by the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) with the 2023 Public History Prize for her ongoing work on the Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis History Project (MITHP).
The project has received extensive media coverage and has helped to educate the larger public about the history of inequities and racial segregation in tuberculosis health care.
Public History Prize committee
“Public history refers to the practice of the historical research, analysis, and interpretation away from a traditional academic setting,” said Dr. McCallum. “It’s really special to have the project honoured this way.”
Awarded annually by the CHA, the Public History Prize recognizes outstanding public historical work in Canada. Judging is based on a variety of factors, including the value and impact for intended audiences; collaboration with relevant communities and constituents; contribution to Canadian public understanding of history; sound and rigorous approach to research and presentation; and originality and creativity.
“Many aspects of this project make it a model of public and engaged history: its ethical grounding; its extensive archival research; and its commitment to outreach and engagement with stakeholders, communities, and the public in many formats over several years,” said the CHA’s Public History Prize Committee in a statement. “The project has received extensive media coverage and has helped to educate the larger public about the history of inequities and racial segregation in tuberculosis health care.”
The MITHP is an Indigenous-led and community-engaged Indigenous health history research project devoted to sharing and recovering histories of Indigenous tuberculosis in Manitoba from the 1930s to 1970s.
The team, led by Dr. McCallum, works with Indigenous tuberculosis patients, families, communities, and organizations on research that addresses the concerns of Indigenous stakeholders. Historical photographs of Indigenous patients and staff form one part of the team’s study, and they’re dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of these photographs as historical health records.
Other aspects of the project include the analysis of the social, administrative, and medical history of tuberculosis control in Manitoba, accessing and preserving records relating to tuberculosis history, and helping families and communities locate missing patients.
“The work of this project, especially by historians Dr. Anne Lindsay, Dr. Erin Millions, Dr. Scott de Groot, and so many others, have challenged physician- and public health-centred narratives about tuberculosis that tend to focus narrowly on the objective of tuberculosis eradication,” said Dr. McCallum.
“This history asks us to learn about practices of racial segregation and indifference to Indigenous suffering in Manitoba and their impacts; the experience and legacy of long-term and permanent removal of Indigenous people from their communities for tuberculosis treatment; and the everyday experience of this monumental public health effort by ordinary people throughout Manitoba.”