“We Need To Know Who Died, We Need To Know How They Died”

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From top: Murray Sinclair, a former judge and senator who led Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Cross Lake Indian Residential School in Manitoba in 1940

The discovery in Canada of nearly 1,000 bodies in unmarked graves at two former residential schools for Indigenous children has set off a search for further burial sites.

Last Thursday, the Cowessess First Nation announced the discovery of what are believed to be 751 unmarked graves at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School on southern Saskatchewan.

An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children are believed to have attended one of about 150 residential schools that operated between the 1880s and 1996 run by either the Catholic Oblates Order of Mary Immaculate or the Church Missionary Society of the Anglican Church (Church of England).

Children were forcibly converted to Christianity, given new names and were prohibited from speaking their native languages, according to testimony given at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which in 2015 concluded that the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide.

Via The Guardian:

Murray Sinclair who led the commission and a member of the Peguis First Nation, said:

We need to know who died, we need to know how they died, we need to know who was responsible for their deaths or for their care at the time that they died. We need to know why the families weren’t informed. And we need to know where the children are buried.

We’ve heard stories from survivors who witnessed children being put to death, particularly infants born in the schools who had been fathered by a priest. Many survivors told us that they witnessed those children, those infants, being either buried alive or killed – and sometimes being thrown into furnaces. Those stories need to be checked out.

On Friday, the Catholic Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which operated 48 schools, including the Marieval Indian residential school at Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan and the Kamloops Indian residential school, said it would release all documents in its possession.

“We remain deeply sorry for our involvement in residential schools and the harms they brought to Indigenous peoples and communities,” the order said a statement. “We further acknowledge that delays can cause ongoing distrust, distress, and trauma to Indigenous peoples.”

Sinclair said that church and government officials had repeatedly claimed the records have been destroyed or lost. Even when the church handed over documents to the commission, key names and locations were redacted, rendering the documents “useless” for research purposes, he said.

Canada must reveal ‘undiscovered truths’ of residential schools to heal (The Guardian)

Meanwhile…

Two more Catholic churches on reserves in British Columbia’s southern Interior burned down Saturday morning.

Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Keith Crow says he received a call at about 4 a.m. PT that the Chopaka church was on fire. By the time he arrived about 30 minutes later, it had burned to the ground.

2 more Catholic churches burned down in B.C.’s Interior (CBC)

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Thanks Eunan

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17 thoughts on ““We Need To Know Who Died, We Need To Know How They Died”

  1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

    fathered by priests and burned alive
    that’s going to haunt me that line

  2. Daisy Chainsaw

    Tuam on a global scale.

    Tell me again why nuns should be in our schools and hospitals?

  3. Fergalito

    I don’t even know where to start … unfathomable if true the stories on how children were put to death. Unfathomable anyway.

    What happens to people that they behave like this when entrusted with such responsibility? The whole gamut – the acts themselves and the obfuscation and cover-up.

    Pure evil.

    1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

      It’s the hypocrisy that gets me the most, these people are meant to believe in a God who watches and judges and will punish your sins, so how ? How do you act in a way that’s so absolutely disgusting and sadistic, that must garantie you a hot spot in hell ?

      1. Fergalito

        This bothers me a lot. It’s likely the same psychology is at play that saw “ordinary people” in Nazi Germany do despicable things. It is the worst of human nature. Scum of the earth.

      2. Bitnboxy

        It is the cover-ups that get me. The Roman Church is unparalleled not in terms of the abuse (most children are actually abused by a parent or close relative) but the jaw-dropping lengths taken to frustrate and deny victims any sense of acknowledgement or justice which can be arguably worse than the abuse itself – aided and abetted at times by a state. It is insidious on a level that is truly horrific. Of course, this Canadian tragedy is a new level of depravity. Just when you think it can’t get any worse.

        1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

          yes but I imagine the parents don’t profess simultaneously to be doing the work of a loving god, hell maybe they do

          1. Bitnboxy

            Also the parents don’t have the whole apparatus of the institutional Roman Church ready, willing and able to cover up these crimes.

  4. White Dove

    Very similar to Ireland. And the same pattern applies even in relation to non-secular institutions. Boystown, anyone?

    Why this desire to kill and abuse children? It seems as if things are almost arranged by society in such a way as to facilitate it, and the perpetrators are often the people who talk about protecting children.

  5. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

    There churches are burned to the ground in rage I presume.
    What do we do here ? Build them a hospital.

  6. millie bobby brownie

    Reading this while rocking my little fella to sleep and I don’t think I’ll be able to understand the kind of evil that could do this, to children, to babies. And in the name of God?

    They weren’t acting in the name of any god I know of. It’s indefensible.

  7. eamonn

    horrendous – the insane thing is nobody is shocked to hear that they were at it again – nobody at all.
    yet they continue to know the way, the truth and the light .

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