August 15, 2009

Schweig tries to help dying Native

Aboriginal man taunted while dying:  Witness

By Jon WoodwardAn aboriginal agency says a man left lying still for hours by passersby in Grandview Park on one of the hottest days of the year was ignored for too long--and then taunted by firefighters and paramedics.

The man eventually died in hospital that night. Vancouver Firefighters and the B.C. Ambulance Service are both launching reviews how they handled the call for help.

The man, whose name is being withheld until his family is contacted, was first seen lying prone at about 9 a.m. on July 29, said one of the people who found him, Eric Schweig.

When Schweig returned at about 4 pm that day, the same man was there, only this time he was convulsing.

"His skin was like a furnace," Schweig told CTV News. "He was baking in the sun."

Schweig says he called a local aboriginal agency, which arrived with cold wet blankets to cool the man down.

But he says that the firefighters and ambulances didn't arrive until much later. When they got there, he said the firefighters started their care with what he called a racist comment.

"They said 'That's what you get for drinking Lysol all day,'" said Schweig.

Then a paramedic pointed to a gathered crowd of native children, and asked Schweig to get "his children out of the way," he said.

The man was taken away in the ambulance, but he died in hospital.
Comment:  Schweig is a Native actor and artist, of course.

For more on racism against Natives, see Hate Stares for Indian Job-Seekers and Pizza Worker Calls Indian "Jackass."

Below:  "Eric Schweig talks to CTV News. August 15, 2009." (CTV)

1 comment:

Ojibwe Confessions said...

About 10 years ago I saw this happen on a busy street in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was close to Christmas time and the weather was extremely cold. I was stuck in the curb lane of traffic. A black truck was parked on the way of traffic. People were honking horns and maneuvering around the parked truck. I did the same, I went around the truck all the while rubbernecking. I saw this man in an open lot stuck in the deep snow. Some girl was trying to help him. I saw he was an Indian. I stopped because the woman was Indian as well. She was distraught telling me that no one is stopping to help and this man will freeze to death. The man was intoxicated in the middle of the afternoon. The woman was trying to get the man into her truck. She had her 2 week old baby in the truck. I told her I would drive the guy home. Today I ask myself if she hadn't stopped, would I have? I hope I would have. I believe this women is a true hero and warrior. She stopped, with her newborn and was willing to pick up an intoxicated stranger. That is not something that happens everyday.