By TNV Desk
The new discovery of unmarked graves of 215 children at an indigenous residential school site in southern British Columbia in Canada reminds one of the savage colonialism. This emanated from the European worldview was that it was the White Man and the Church that were bringing civilization to the ‘uncivilized’.
A recent example of this tyranny is uncovering the unmarked graves of indigenous children in Catholic Church-controlled residential schools in Canada.
Here are excerpts from a recent report by “The Guardian” titled “Canada: remains of 215 children found at Indigenous residential school site”(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/28/canada-remains-indigenous-children-mass-graves):
“The Kamloops Indian Residential School was established in 1890 under the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and closed in 1978. Former attendees described harsh conditions.”
The report says, “Unmarked graves containing the remains of 215 Indigenous children have been discovered on the grounds of a former residential school in the interior of southern British Columbia. The grim discovery at the former school near the town of Kamloops was announced by the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people after the site was examined by a team using ground-penetrating radar.“To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” said Rosanne Casimir, chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, in a statement. Some of the remains belong to children as young as three years old, but the causes and timing of their deaths are not yet known. “At this time, we have more questions than answers,” said Casimir.”
The report further said, “The Kamloops Indian residential school ………….was part of a cross-Canada network of residential schools created to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children by removing them from their homes and communities, and forbidding them from speaking their native languages or performing cultural practices. Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse were rampant within these institutions, as was forced labor.”
“At least 150,000 children attended such schools in what a historic 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission described as a “cultural genocide” targeting Canada’s Indigenous people.”
It further added, “George Manuel, who attended in the 1920s, said: “Every Indian student smelled of hunger.” The school was described as cold in winter and unsanitary.
The same documents mention that students were exposed to outbreaks of measles, tuberculosis, influenza and other contagious diseases, and many died.”
“In a 1935 report on death from measles at the school, an agent noted that “the sleeping accommodation for 285 pupils in the school consists of five dormitories, which are crowded. During an epidemic, it is impossible to properly isolate the patients and contacts.”
According to the report, “Indigenous communities have long believed that residential school students were buried in unmarked graves and proving it has been a decades-long process. “It matters because the story of secret residential-school mass graves is an urban legend,” said a column in British Columbia news outlet TheTyee.ca.”
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has calculated at least 3,201 residential school deaths, although the true total may never be known due to unaccounted deaths and destroyed files.”
“The residential school system harm Indigenous children by removing them from their families, their ancestral languages, and exposed many of them to physical and sexual abuse. The system ultimately proved successful in disrupting the transmission of Indigenous practices and beliefs across generations,” said The Guardian report.
“On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a public apology on behalf of the Government of Canada and the leaders of the other federal parties in the House of Commons. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to uncover the truth about the schools. In 2015, the TRC concluded with the establishment of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and the publication of a multi-volume report detailing the testimonies of survivors and historical documents from the time. The TRC report concluded that the school system amounted to cultural genocide,” said this report in The Guardian.