Canada: Graves of Indigenous Children Discovered: Canada’s Dark Side

Canada: Graves of Indigenous Children Discovered: Canada's Dark Side

In specially created schools, children of the native population were re-educated. Apparently thousands died. Now new, heart-wrenching cases are coming to the fore.

Canada is once again facing the gruesome history of its boarding schools for Indigenous children: Unmarked graves of children who died in schools have been found in the Williams Lake First Nation community in British Columbia. “We need to make sure Canada knows what atrocities happened in these schools,” say First Nations people, a term used to describe people who lived in Canada before the arrival of Europeans. word.

Willie Sellers, the head of the Williams Lake First Nation, announced the discovery of the graves on Tuesday. Ground-penetrating radar and other modern techniques have been used to uncover evidence of 93 “probable human burial sites” at the site of the now-demolished St. Joseph’s Missionary School, one of several so-called residential schools for Indigenous children. is one. Williams Lake is located approximately 300 kilometers northeast of Vancouver in inland British Columbia. So far, out of 470 hectares of the school, only 14 and the surrounding fields have been investigated. Whitney Spearing, who led the work, said that some potential graves are in the area of ​​the previous cemetery, but about 50 are outside the cemetery. Only through excavation can it be definitively determined whether the tombs are in fact human graves and mission school children and how many graves there are.

There were 130 such schools in Canada

“But a grave is too much,” said Bev Sellers of the Xatsull First Nation, who had to attend school in the 1960s. Five years of school were “painful” for him. “They put me in school and tried to train me to be a person I was not,” she told Canadian Radio. CBC,

The schools were established by the Canadian state, but they were primarily run by churches, in this case the Catholic Church. Residential schools were the major school system for children of indigenous peoples: First Nations children, the Inuit people, and the Métis people. There were 130 of these schools in Canada. Residential schools existed until the 1990s. Its decline began in the late 1960s as the dire consequences of this school system became more and more apparent.

4100 deaths of indigenous children have already been documented

The schools served the purpose of integrating children into a state shaped by European immigrants. Children were taken away from their families and placed in schools, most of which were off their reservations, many far away. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission published a thousand-page report on residential schools in 2015, accounting for victims’ reporting of abuse they experienced in schools. The commission also found that at least 4,100 children died from illness, neglect or accidents in schools. Many were buried in unmarked graves, often without informing their families. The number of children dying in schools is probably very high.

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First Nations were saddened to learn that their children were disappearing from schools and never returning. In Canada, it has long been known that more unmarked graves will be found.

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