The International and Inter-generational Harm of Colonialism and Christianity – Finding More Children’s Bodies – To Date the Third Graveyard. (Pt 2)
(Comments on this post will be closed. I don’t want or chose to invite the racism that I’ve seen on Twitter onto this piece. This is a very sensitive issue.)
Since the graveyard in Kamloops was found, Twitter has been a buzz with how Canada as a nation can deal with and show respect. recognition for this horrible issue.
On finding the Kamloops’ site, there was a call for the Ottawa parliament to lower it’s flags.
Now there is a call for the cancellation of Canada Day – July 1 this year. Or at least acknowledging the graves and mourning the little lives lost. It’s not yet known what Heritage Canada will do. But it’s early.
Both of these things seem really performative vs actual acts. But maybe it’s signal that the calls are being heard? That on behalf of their city, municipality, even the country, the voices are being heard of the First Nation tribes and of those little souls that were taken too soon?
- What can be done though? Other than returning the bodies to their tribes and hopefully their families. So they can mourn and perform whatever rites would be most fitting.
- What can Canada ( the United States, and other countries with these schools) do to make amends? Is there anything that will bring justice?
- Some are calling for churches (esp those involved) losing their tax exempt status. Under the Constitution of Canada, a church that wants this designation must show they are working for the betterment of their community. Killing children or allowing them to die when they’re in your charge isn’t exactly showing that, is it? So far, the bodies have been found on Catholic school grounds. Will the call change when it’s another church?
It’s a horror and I’m not sure there is a right answer. Not as the enormity sinks in, even among outsiders to the tribes and parents who have lost their babies. I cannot imagine being that parent. It breaks my heart to think of it. The thought of the govt/police/Children’s Aid seizing my child and refusing me access, denying them their heritage. And the child I adored dying away from me, finding out years later what happened to my baby. No, I don’t think there is an answer.
As we sit and ponder these deaths, let’s try to listen to the voices of tribal members as they ask for what they need from us. Let’s hear their stories and their grief. It’s time to recognize what has been done, in Canada and other nations, in the name of nation-building. Because no matter what symbolic gesture we make, it’s performative without their asking it of us.
If you want to find out more, there are resources below:
2018 – 50 Indigenous children’s bodies found who died at the Brandon Residential School. Manitoba
2021 – former Kamloops British Columbia, ‘Indian’ Residential School have uncovered the remains of 215 children buried at the site
2021 – Cowessess First Nation announced today the discovery of 751 unmarked graves near former residential school in Saskatchewan
PMJT calling out the RC Church for records and apology
$27M will soon be available to communities to help locate children who died at residential schools: feds
2015 – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission accepted by PMJT
govt’s response to calls to action since 2015
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls