This week news came out about the 215 bodies found to date at one of Canada’s largest residential schools – the “Kamloops Indian Residential School”. The school stopped operating until 1969 as a school, then 1978 as a daycare. So far, bodies as young as three have been found.
Three years old.
Canada boasts being a multi-cultural country, and yet there are stories exploding about racism all over – scared and hateful white people bullying, attacking, scaring and tormenting the way of lives of other Canadians. I am embarrassed to be a white-identifying male in our world today. And yet, it doesn’t have to be. That is another discussion. Today It’s about the number 215.
These 215 bodies of children were discovered on the grounds of the old school.
The school was run by……you guessed it, the Catholic Church. And yet, the residential schools were set up by the federal and provincial governments in conjunction with the Church. And the RCMP, acting as agents of the government, stormed into indigenous communities, trespassing on their lands to rip children away from their caregivers, their parents, their culture and community.
White male dominated bodies determined the fates and the eventual mass murder and genocide of Indigenous people all over Canada.
Disgusting. Actually, that is too mild of a word. I cannot think of a word that can adequately define my feeling for what was done to the children of the people whose land this was by colonialized agents in the name of religion?
Canadians (and I am one of them) often brag about how great things are in Canada. Yet, when the sinister history of our past is brought to light we would rather ignore, dismiss, explain or do anything other than accept the fact that the people in power in Canada are not above committing human war crimes, genocide and mass murder. Where are the advocates for these 215+ children who “disappeared”? Why does the Catholic Church refuse to provide records about what really happened? Why do they continue to play this game with us?
Wake up Canada. Accept what happened. Take a hard look at our white privilege and what it costs other cultures. Do we accept that when our children go to school, there is a possibility they will be murdered and buried and that we will be lied to about what really happened? No. Why do we tell our indigenous neighbors that the past is the past, and that it was another time? Why do we lie to ourselves that the “church” is not like that? This particular school closed in only 1969. And guess what? The murderers and abusers that worked there in 1969 – well, they went to other schools, other churches across Canada. Maybe they even changed their names. Maybe they preached to you, or your parents or grandparents about God’s love, and all the while escaped justice by hiding under their collars.
Oh, hey, and white people – I love how you find comfort in continuing the lie that this was a “residential school problem” and that it affected indigenous people. Guess what? It affected you too. These people who were guilty of heinous crimes against the first nations people in our country committed crimes against your children too.
Yes, that’s right. I am a victim of abuse by the catholic church. I lived though. And because I am a survivor of abuse at the hands of pedophile priests and an organization that turned it’s back on the children it supposedly protected, I have a connection to the 215 (and more) children who never were able to grow up. Children who were not given the opportunity to learn their customs and practices. Children who lived in fear and were beaten, starved, raped, murdered and thrown away like trash.
As I continue my fight, I have allies now. These 215 (and more) are children of the Force. The Force is strong with me and I call out to the Force and to these dear spirits to give me the strength to continue my fight to give the children the respect and the honour they all deserve. I reach out to them, their communities, and their families and weep with them. It is not an act of weakness. It is so we may continue to reveal the truth that the Catholic Church and the colonialized powers have tried so hard to keep silent.
As Princess Leia says to Tarken when facing the threat of mass annihilation:
The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers
So go ahead, keep denying. Keep hiding the truth. I am only one of many who are waking up to fight and speak out for those who were silenced far too early. The Force wills it, and I will answer the call.