Tragically, the global community has learned that 215 Indigenous children never had a chance to return home from Kamloops Indian Residential School. And recently, the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation identified 104 potential graves in the former Brandon Indian Residential School.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, indigenous scholar and academic director of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Center at the University of British Columbia, said NBC news: “Mass graves are a legacy of conflicts and human rights violations in other parts of the world …”
Church and state denial of genocide and crimes against humanity in Canada can no longer be ignored.
These acts of genocide are the greatest offense against humanity.
Read more: Canada’s Hypocrisy: Recognize Genocide Other Than Its Own Of Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous peoples have always understood the holiness and central role of children in our societies – in order to model indigenous holism and to maintain connections to the land and thus to our future. Colonialism has destroyed these connections.
Since the building of man-made hegemonic structures began with religion, imperialism has continued with colonialism, which has led to the expropriation of indigenous peoples.
This expropriation was a key feature of control and colonialism in North America and other parts of the world. It was the means of assimilation into British citizenship.
For example, the Waitangi Treaty in New Zealand was created and signed by the Māori chiefs and the British Crown to allow for all the features of colonialism and assimilation as a British subject. However, 90 years later, the assimilation was unsuccessful.
It becomes clear that assimilation was unsuccessful in Canada as well, as the government deemed it necessary to require presence at the IRS. When indigenous children struggled through a foreign curriculum and system that tried to shed their traditional way of life, they unwittingly tried to survive genocide.
These acts of genocide were strategically implemented by the church and state in order to expel indigenous peoples by expropriating their land and thus their culture.
We both have a personal connection to this. Cynthia Stirbys is a fourth generation descendant of Indian Residential Schools survivors. Your research – Potential for wellness to overcome trauma – focuses on patterns and causes of intergenerational trauma. Amelia McComber attended a theological school to study the role of the church in indigenous life. She concluded that the state was using the church as a tool to crush indigenous societies.
Religion and control
Residential schools were primarily run by the Catholic Church. Since its takeover by the Roman Empire, Catholicism has been intertwined with ideas of divinely sanctioned conquest, and the church has been preoccupied with control, money, capitalism, and land acquisition.
The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission repeated the following:
Although often working in isolation and under difficult conditions, missionaries have represented organizations around the world who have enjoyed the support of influential figures in some of the most powerful nations in the world and have gained considerable experience in transforming cultures. Residential schools played a prominent role in missionary work not only in Canada but around the world. Christian missionaries played a complex but central role in the European colonial project. Their presence helped justify the expansion of empires as they visibly spread the word of God to the Gentiles. If their efforts were unsuccessful, missionaries might conclude that those who refused to receive the Christian message could not expect protection from the Church or the law, paving the way for their destruction.
In the teachings of Christ, we have understood the importance and central role of children in our global societies in representing the future. The focus of his teaching is: “Let the little children come to me …”
The importance of the teachings of Jesus has been adopted throughout history to aid the agenda of the mighty. The discovery of the 215 children reveals this delusion.
Indigenous legal scholar Tamara Starblanket was recently quoted in an article: Settlement of genocide and denial of the Canadian state:
“The laws and policies that enforce the removal of our children are about our land and how to gain control of land, minerals, water and air. The government attempted violent denationalization … through massive and widespread violent indoctrination. … The result is that our children do not understand their responsibility, language, culture, spirituality, laws and direct connection to our country and their duty to protect our country for future generations. “
The grief of being separated from our land and sacred spaces is incredibly painful, but nothing like the grief of losing our children and having them separated from their families and communities.
It is becoming clear that indigenous peoples were targeted with the establishment of Indian Residential Schools. By physically removing indigenous children from their communities, the church and state expropriated indigenous peoples in an attempt to deprive them of their culture and integrate them into broader Canadian society.
Humanity remains in a state of illness
The United Nations Human Rights Office has called on the Canadian government to conduct a “swift and thorough investigation” into the deaths of indigenous children and to find their bodies by searching unmarked graves.
The paradox of the situation is forcing the world community to accept the dark truth about the loss of 215 innocent Indigenous children in Canada. The discovery shed light on the state of the world and the self-interests of the church and state have been so evident that humanity remains in a state of disease and ecological imbalance.
If you are an Indian Residential School survivor or are affected by the boarding school system and need assistance, you can contact the Indian Residential Schools 24 hour emergency line at 1-866-925-4419