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Indian Day-Schools: Canada's horrific history

Finally, the world is realizing what has burdened Indigenous Americans for more than 100 years - a generational trauma of seeing their children torn from their families to be forcibly interned in distant residential schools.


The 150,000 traumatized victims of residential schools were trapped in a largely church-run system aimed at eradicating Indigenous cultures between 1879 and 1996: First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were to be separated from their parents and traditions and assimilated into white Canada.


The system to kill "the Indian in the child."


This government "civilizing" mandate was enforced through neglect, humiliation, food deprivation, sexual abuse and brute force, in 150 boarding schools across the country, with the majority in Saskatchewan. Instruction focused on physical labor and religious instruction; one's culture had to be forgotten under threat of punishment, including language. Tuberculosis and malnutrition were rampant. Between 1948 and 1952, medical and nutritional experiments were carried out in six boarding schools with almost 1,000 pupils were carried out. However, the authorities had no intention of improving the situation of the children. In the 1940s, students* with tuberculosis were sent to racially segregated, underserved hospitals or sanatoriums, usually without their parents' knowledge or consent, where they often remained for years. In short, school and medical care for indigenous children was abysmal.


Generations of government officials and politicians knew that poor conditions were leading to the deaths of children, and they did nothing. It should not be forgotten that parents usually gave their children away under threat of imprisonment - and broke as a result. 3,213 children are said to have died of hunger and disease, other sources speak of close to 25,000 deaths; up to 6,000 children are missing. It was the cruel continuation of the so-called "Doctrine of Discovery" that European settlers had used for centuries to justify colonization. justification for colonization. Solid evidence corroborates what generations have known.


On May 27, 2021, in British Columbia, the first remains of 215 remains of 215 unidentified children were discovered on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Thanks to a non non-invasive radar sounding the ground to be examined and the finds to be marked. Old wounds were opened, relatives of missing children children arrived, wanting to know if they could to know if they could close the worst chapter of their of their lives, to rebury their children and bury them at home. Then it went from one blow to the next:

Within a few weeks in which former residential schools identified more children's bodies on the school grounds. identified on the school grounds. After Kamloops was followed by Marieval in Saskatchewan with 751 finds, Brandon in Manitoba (104), Penelakut Island in British Columbia (160), Regina and Lestock in Saskatchewan (73), etc. By August 1, 1,300 unmarked children's graves have been identified, with just under ten boarding schools surveyed. There are unbaptized infants and teenage mothers. To support former students and victims, a national crisis crisis hotline has been set up.


Tempers flared, with vigils and protests across the country. On Canada Day, the country's national day celebrated on July 1, Catholic and Anglican churches were attacked and set on fire, and statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II were toppled in Winnipeg. The affected indigenous tribes are regulating the search for unmarked graves and the recovery of their children's remains after their ceremonies, to the exclusion of the press and (white) public. They are now setting the pace and the mode of communication, but they need patience, because in many cases, due to missing or withheld data, it is not possible to or withheld data, it is often no longer possible to reconstruct which children the mortal remains are. DNA analyses are difficult, especially if no direct descendants of the victims are still alive. For twenty years 36 indigenous communities from B.C. and another 38 from more distant. The school's archives were demanded in vain by provinces such as Alberta and Yukon whose missing children had been shipped to Kamloops between 1943 and 1952. During peak enrollment in the 1950s, as many as 500 students* attended the Kamloops Residential School.

The religious brothers and sisters of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate ran about 47% of Canada's residential schools, including the one in Kamloops. The Catholic Church of Canada suddenly promises to make all available data accessible. To date, Pope Francis has only expressed regret for the deaths of the Indigenous children, not an apology. He has agreed to meet a delegation of affected people in December 2021. Whether he will condemn the perpetrators in his own ranks post mortem is questionable, since only 50 defendants in 38,000 abuse lawsuits have been

have been convicted so far. For example, a 90-year-old priest accused of sexually abusing Inuit children in several Nunavut communities is living a quiet life in France. is living a quiet life in France, although a warrant was issued for his arrest him was issued.


Chronology of an inglorious government policy.


For years, Indigenous people demanded a national inquiry; in 2008, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to address the history and trauma of the Residential Schools by hearing from those affected. Canada experienced the largest legal class action to date, which led to the out-of-court Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement: By 2016, 79,309 of 85,000 victims received compensation payments of CA$1,622,422,106, the equivalent of $20,000 per victim. With this "indulgence payment," the government believed it could close the issue; it left the cost of the TRC to the indigenous people, as TRC Commission member Grand Chief Willie Littlechild told us in person at the UN, himself a victim of the Residential Schools. Of the 94 Calls to Action (Calls to Action), which the TRC presented in its 2015 report, the government has implemented only Government implemented only nine by 2021. In 2007, the Jordan Principle came into effect, named after the five-year-old Jordan River Anderson died, while the provincial and federal governments were fighting over responsibility for his care. The Jordan's Principle is designed to ensure that all Indigenous children have access to the medical care and support they need.


While an "apology" was issued in 2008 by then Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the "past" injustice, but like his successor but, like his successor Justin Trudeau, shifted the blame to the churches as the operators of the boarding schools . The clergy of the Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist churches are responsible for abuse and torture, but they were acting on behalf of the government. So it seems bizarre that Trudeau is now demanding an apology from the pope without loudly and clearly acknowledging the Canadian government's responsibility.


In 2009, the TRC had requested CA$1.5 million to search for children's graves at boarding schools. They were denied the funds at the time. Only in 2016 does Canada adopt-with reservations-the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), which aims to enshrine rights that "embody the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the world's indigenous peoples."


Band-aids on old wounds.


Politicians and church circles speak of "shocking events" - this sounds cynical in the ears of those affected, it would be more appropriate to speak of genocide. The former "Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Just International Order" of the UN, Alfred de Zayas, also speaks of genocide and endemic racial politics: "It is the most gruesome chapter in the 400-year history of Canadian colonialism.

From the 17th-20th centuries, a "Clash of Civilization" took place, with the extermination of entire tribes, the burning of indigenous villages, the theft of land and the plundering of their resources. The shock in white society may be honest, but it's like putting new Band-Aids on old wounds that never healed." As residential schools slowly disbanded from the 1960s to the 1980s, thousands of Indigenous children have been placed in foster care against the wishes of their families, including outside of Canada. Even today, Indigenous children are still overrepresented in the overrepresented in the country's child welfare system. Currently more children and youth are placed with foster families or in homes than have ever been placed in boarding schools - as if the white welfare system has replaced the boarding school system.


USA: Deb Haaland's rapid response.


The search for children's bodies in former boarding schools immediately began in the U.S. as well; 180 unmarked graves were found at the infamous Carlisle boarding school in Pennsylvania. Indigenous Interior Secretary Deb Haaland directed her agency to prepare a report on the U.S. boarding school system and possible unmarked graves of missing children. to produce. "The Department of the Interior

will address the intergenerational impact of boarding schools to shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past, as difficult and painful as that process will be," Haaland said. "It will not undo our loss. But only by honoring the past can we work toward a future we can all be proud of." As early as 1819, the U.S. enacted the Indian Civilization Act to establish more than 350 boarding schools across the country. "I am an example of this cruel assimilation policy. My maternal grandparents were torn from their families when they were only eight years old and had to live away from their parents, culture and community until they were 13 years old. Many children like them never made it home again."

Haaland cited statistics from the National Native American Boarding School

Healing Coalition that by 1926, more than 80% of indigenous children of school age attended boarding schools operated by either the federal government or religious institutions.


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