Wednesday, 3 June 2015

First Nations Childrens Deaths In Church Run Residential Schools: Same Odds As Soldier Deaths in WWII

Residential school in Manitoba, 1960. (source)
As I've posted before, Canada has a dark and repulsive past of tearing First Nations children away from their families and shipping them off to re-education camps ("schools") where they'll be forbidden from speaking their own languages or learning about the religions of their people.
The Indian residential schools were a network of "residential" (boarding) schools for Native Canadians (First Nations or "Indians"; M├ętis and Inuit. Funded by the Canadian government's Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and administered by Christian churches, predominantly the Roman Catholic Church in Canada (60%), but also the Anglican Church of Canada (30%), and the United Church of Canada (including its pre-1925 constituent church predecessors)(10%). The policy was to remove children from the influence of their families and culture and assimilate them into the dominant Canadian culture. Over the course of the system's existence, approximately 30% of native children, roughly some 150,000, were placed in residential schools nationally.
Of course, these religious groups -- including the Pope himself (not until 2009!) -- issued apologies since the last school was closed in 1996(!!), however, it wasn't until the Truth & Reconciliation Commission started going through the archives and interviewing survivors, that we began to truly understand the horror that were these schools. It's gut wrenching.
In February 2013, research by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission revealed that at least 3,000 students had died, mostly from disease. In 2011, reflecting on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's research, Justice Murray Sinclair told the Toronto Star: "Missing children — that is the big surprise for me, [...] That such large numbers of children died at the schools. That the information of their deaths was not communicated back to their families." In a legal report, the Canadian Bar Association concludes that "Student deaths were not uncommon". See Mortality rates below for more information.
These children were supposed to be in good hands of the religious communities here in Canada. Well, the commission has completed their task and the number of deaths is over 6,000 children in the past 120 black years of this disgusting blight on our nation's history.
In media interviews, Sinclair has also revealed that the TRC has documented the deaths of over 6,000 students while in residential schools, adding that there are probably more.

That would put the odds of dying in Canadian residential schools over the years they operated at about the same as for those serving in Canada's armed forces during the Second World War.
The commission also came right out and said it. This was cultural genocide ordered up by our elected officials and implemented by religious communities. There is blood on everyone's hands here, but it's clear that these churches and the Pope, who is apparently in communication with God himself, were downright evil.
A moment of shared emotional catharsis bound survivors of Canada's residential schools Tuesday as their collective ordeal was officially branded a "cultural genocide" that tore apart their families and left them to contend with lifelong scars of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

The massive report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission makes 94 broad recommendations —everything from greater police independence and reducing the number of aboriginal children in foster care to restrictions on the use of conditional and mandatory minimum sentences.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I've read the stories about sexual abuse of children, deaths of kids in Ireland, money laundering in Rome and the fatal forcing of children to give birth to children of rape. Why do I still find this surprising?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is refusing to use the words cultural genocide, after we learned that 150,000 children were kidnapped from their families and over 6,000 died. That's pretty vile of him.

The violence continues. First Nations women go missing forever at a shocking rate in our country.

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