Most of the time when I write stories about religious faith healing, you can be sure that there’s some religious fundamentalist nutjob behind it, refusing to seek out credible medical treatment for their children or denying them the most basic of nutritional needs. However, there are other beliefs that can kill the religiously incredulous as well, as this case out of Ontario, Canada shows.
11-year old Makayla Sault, from the Ojibwa aborigine tribe in the New Credit First Nation reserve, was diagnosed with cancer and started a regimen of chemotherapy. However, she eventually refused to take the treatment, based on her Ojibwa tribal beliefs, in order to pursue “traditional medical treatments”.
“There’s a fear of [aboriginal remedies] or denial of it. If things can’t be quantified or qualified, to them it’s irrelevant,” said Laurie Hill, Ancestral Voices Healing Centre, located in the Six Nations Aboriginal community. “Who are they [doctors] to say she will make it with their treatments. Just because they have a degree, that makes them more knowledgeable?”
Yes, Ms. Hill, yes it does. Childhood leukemia, which is what Sault suffered from, has a 90% recovery rate with a modern medical regimen including chemo. Without it, it is a virtual death sentence. But Canadian judge Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice saw it differently. According to him, imposing the modern world view on a First Nation culture was unacceptable. The idea of a cancer treatment being judged on the basis of statistics that quantify patients’ five-year survival rate is “completely foreign” to aboriginal ways. He asked, “Even if we say there is not one child who has been cured of acute lymphoblastic leukemia by traditional methods, is that a reason to invoke child protection?” Well yes, abso-fracking-lutely, you idiot! That’s the thing about deciding how best to handle illnesses like this. You go with what works. Primitive traditional medicines simply do not work, it has been proven time and time again. In fact, earlier in the year, another 11-year old cancer patient likewise stopped her chemotherapy regimen in favor of traditional medicine and likewise relapsed. It simply doesn’t work in any demonstrable way.
As if to prove this, Makayla Sault died of a stroke less than a year after leaving her modern medical treatment. Her traditional methods didn’t save her life, they contributed directly to her death. She could have lived but belief in ancient religious rituals killed her. It is absurd to allow people to cling to ridiculous old faiths when we have modern medicines that work. Yet, for some reason, the religious demand that their tired old methods must work, they have faith, they believe that it has to, reality be damned and far too many modern folk fear offending the religious sensibilities of primitive peoples and would rather see innocent kids die than suggest that these faiths are stupid. So one more kid dead, thanks to religion. Horror Show Sunday is packed full of such tragedies.