Where do I begin? You probably know about the discovery of the remains of 215 Tk’emlúps First Nations children, at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. It has been well-covered by both America and world news outlets.
Canadians are aghast. It is not that we didn't know about these residential schools whose job it was to expunge the savage out of the Native children. It is estimated that 150 000 children were snatched and shipped off to boarding schools where, under the threat of punishment, they were not permitted to speak their native languages. Stories of brutal punishment abound.
I quote from an article from theconversation.com.
The Canadian state, in partnership with the churches, has long unilaterally assumed sovereignty over Indigenous mortality and bereavement.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the atrocity at Tk’emlúps which has sharpened this for many Indigenous nations, as we see how the Catholic church not only denied these children the capacity to shape the means of and choose the ends of their life, but also they denied their communities control over their death.
In Tk’emlúps, the Catholic church decided that neither their lives nor their deaths were worthy of being known, remembered and commemorated.
One of the more appalling acts by the Catholic church in Tk’emlúps was how the children were deliberately forgotten; they were omitted from the official records that would verify their passing.
Fellow Ontario blogger, The Furry Gnome, wrote a piece about the residential school system that covers the basics without being too long. I suggest that you read his post, 215 Children, especially if you are Canadian, because we have to own this. How can we be better if we don't?
The nation, provinces and communities have lowered the flag to half mast for 215 hours. This is our town hall..