It’s time for ministers to stop consigning the residential schools scandal to a ‘dark history’, and deal with ongoing injustices.
Thu 8 Jul 2021 06.53 EDT
Ground-penetrating sonar found the children’s bodies that the survivors of Canada’s “residential schools” always knew were there. For more than a century, these schools functioned as re-education camps run by the Canadian government and Catholic church to assimilate Indigenous children. Children were raped, locked in chicken coops, shocked in an electric chair, subject to medical experiments, confined by electric fences and all too often dug the graves of other children who were buried in unmarked graves. This happened under the cover of the Bible, while the Canadian government promoted itself as a bastion of human rights.
More than 1,000 unmarked children’s graves have been discovered at former residential schools. Why was the truth buried for so long? The answer lies in the weaponisation of history. In his presidential address to the Royal Society of Canada in 1922, Duncan Campbell Scott, the Canadian civil servant who ran the residential schools at their peak between 1913 and 1932, noted that historians had a “duty and obligation to accept no statement without documentary evidence”. For years, the Canadian government mounted a potent colonial propaganda campaign that was abetted by the churches to cover up wrongdoing. Leading perpetrators in the residential school scandal were exalted in history books while statues of them were erected in prominent places. Meanwhile, Indigenous peoples were dehumanised, ensuring that any leaked reports or evidence of wrongdoing would receive little attention.
Read More : https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/08/canada-indigenous-children-deaths-residential-schools