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Canadian Residential Schools


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https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-kamloops-residential-school-mass-graves-215-children-explainer/

A piece of Canada's shameful history has come to light recently. There has been a mass grave discovered at the former Kamloops Residential School. It contained 215 bodies of children, the youngest being three years old. It's absolutely horrifying and I firmly believe that every residential school needs to be searched. This is not an isolated issue. The Indigenous community have been well aware of this problem for years and it's taken so long for the rest of Canada to catch up. 

This is also not something of the past - the last residential school may have closed in 1996 but there are still Indigenous children being taken from their families and being put into foster care. Women are missing and murdered and the police will not look for them. There is an extensive number of Indigenous communities that have zero access to clean drinking water. This is a huge problem and Canada needs to do better. 

 

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I majored in history almost 10 years ago and it was something that was known and talked about in History courses. Historians have slowly been talking about the perspective of the Indigenous communities for at least the past 20 years. But it was not a mainstream subjet for the general media/public. In fact, I learned more about the awful treatment of First nations in Canada in college than I did in all of my high school and elementary school curriculum. So I think it's ''good'' in a way, that we are now talking about it and not hiding these atrocities.

My main concern is that the Kamloops 215 children are sadly the tip of the iceberg. I fear more grim discoveries like these will be made in the future. ?

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This is so horrifying but absolutely not unexpected. It is not unlike the ongoing efforts to find and return The Disappeared in Argentina. The US was no better and it's likely there are many more who died in the US IRS system than have been publicly acknowledged.

It must be ghastly for the survivors and their families & communities to have to revisit such trauma in this way. At the least, I hope that the decedents can identified and returned to their families, if that's what people want. I also hope that there's a way to force the institutions (e.g., RC Church) who ran these schools to turn over all available records if they haven't done so already. The First Nations will need those data in order to make as full an accounting as possible of the children who are missing.

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11 hours ago, Vivi_music said:

My main concern is that the Kamloops 215 children are sadly the tip of the iceberg. I fear more grim discoveries like these will be made in the future. ?

Yes. Every residential school needs to be checked and people need to be held accountable. The Catholic Church/Government of Canada has a lot to answer for. 

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15 hours ago, viii said:

Yes. Every residential school needs to be checked and people need to be held accountable. The Catholic Church/Government of Canada has a lot to answer for. 

Add to that some protestant denomination as well. During the ''height'' of the residential school system, both the Catholic Church and protestant churches ran these schools. It depended on the region in the country. In fact the Government of Canada kind of subcontracted (if we use a modern term) any Christian denomination that was willing to do the dirty work for them. ?

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We had native foster kids, in the 60s, and they were very well fed, and loved. The social worker said the mom had run off and left the 14 year old in charge of 7 kids. I will never forget my sweet little brothers. Mom caught one of them trying to wash the brown off his arms. And she told him how beautiful he was, just like that. No problem with the brown. I had a nice mom. 

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On 6/3/2021 at 7:29 PM, Vivi_music said:

In fact the Government of Canada kind of subcontracted (if we use a modern term) any Christian denomination that was willing to do the dirty work for them. ?

This is true although, to their credit, the United Church of Canada issued a fairly forthright apology in 1986. They ran 15 IRS. 

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The statue of Egerton Ryerson at the university bearing his name bites the dust, deservedly so.

Also, this Twitter thread by a Metis archaeologist is an excellent examination of whose dead are valued and by how much:

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

The pope is in Canada apologizing for the schools. It seems to be going well, but I feel weary and cynical.

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  • 2 months later...

Can I please ask a dumb question?

Totally admitting my ignorance, but I know this has something to do with First Nations people in Canada, so I searched for a thread. 

I was raised fundie lite, my cousins (our dads are brothers) were/are much more strict. Quiverfull, homeschooled in the middle of the wilderness, home churched etc. They moved to Canada from Australia when they were young but we still have a lot of contact. 

Today one of my cousin’s daughters posted a photo of her kids on FB wearing a tshirt that says:


Tahto awâsis kistakimâwak
Chaque enfant compte
Every child matters

and I wondered if anyone can tell me the meaning behind ‘every child matters’ in Canada? Is it like ‘all lives matter’ as a retort to Black Lives Matter? Is it a pro life thing? I’ve been suspecting that my cousin’s daughter may have left the fundie lifestyle. My cousin was telling me recently that she was disappointed that this daughter is pro-vax so I know that her daughter doesn’t follow her mum blindly. Anyway, I don’t know enough to understand what this tshirt means, just that it is linked to the awful residential schools. 

Thanks for enlightening me.

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Yes, it's all linked.

Yesterday, September 30th, was the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, or Orange Shirt Day, in Canada. It's a response to the horrors of residential schools and the forced assimilation/attempted genocide of Indigenous people, especially children, in Canada. The associated slogan is "Every child matters", and it's kind of a respectful echo to Black Lives Matter, not a pro-life retort.

A six-year-old child, Phyllis Webstad of the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation (the Shuswap people from BC), proudly wore the orange shirt her grandmother had given her to her first day of residential school, where it promptly was taken away from her and never returned. The orange shirt symbolizes everything taken away (language, culture, family, innocence) from Indigenous children sent to residential schools.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008 by the Canadian federal government to investigate residential schools. Its final report was published in 2015 and found that Indigenous residential schools were an act of cultural genocide. The TRC also published 94 Calls to Action for reconciliation, one of which is creating a federal holiday recognizing this fact. Orange Shirt Day was officially declared a federal holiday last year, in 2021.

This is being taught as a basic part of curriculum in schools in Canada now, so every child will know more than I do on this extremely unsavoury part of Canada's history. Thank you for asking! It means you care. I welcome any corrections on anything I may have gotten wrong, as well. And yes, lots of people wear orange shirts -- practically every child in school, and I would say about 20% of people on the street in my city yesterday.

Edited by Jigsaw3
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