The Swiss religious were also explicitly involved in the re-education of indigenous children in Canada in mission schools. Hermit Abbott Urban Federer in an interview with “Teges-Anziger” demanded that the state and church take responsibility.
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- Lucerne historian Manuel Menrath reports in his 2020 non-fiction book “Under the Northern Lights” how the indigenous peoples of Canada were forcibly assimilated by whites.
Boarding schools for indigenous children (“residential schools”) played a central role.
These schools operated from the 17th century to the 1990s and were run by churches. They came into the limelight in recent weeks when mass graves were found near such former schools.
Menrath writes, the schools were designed to completely rob indigenous civilizations of their lives. He is of the opinion that the Swiss also have a historical responsibility. Switzerland has also benefited from the retreat of indigenous peoples.
He was shocked and embarrassed, Federer told the newspaper about the corpses found in Catholic schools. The culture of indigenous peoples has been destroyed by Europeans, “civilized” and humiliating.
According to the newspaper, Catholic missionaries from Switzerland also worked in the schools, especially in the late 19th century. The head of the Benedictine monastery in Einsedeln said that he did not know whether by his order the Swiss would have taught in such schools in Canada as in the USA.
Federer said the processing should take place on-site in Canada and the United States. They do not think there is anything about it in the archives of the Einsiedeln Monastery. Of course, the state and the church must now stand up and take responsibility.
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