The remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were discovered at the site of a former residential school for indigenous children, a discovery Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called tragic on Friday.
According to the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation, which said the remains were discovered with the help of a ground-penetrating radar specialist, children were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978.
Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir said in a statement that they had a knowing in their community that they were able to verify, but that at this time, they have more questions than answers.
And a six-year inquiry into the now-defunct system discovered in 2015 that the residential school system, which effectively separated indigenous children from their families, constituted cultural genocide.
The report documented horrific physical injury, abuse, starvation and other crimes suffered by many of the 150,000 children who attended the schools, typically run by Christian churches on behalf of Ottawa from the 1840s to the 1990s, and it found more than 4,100 children perished while attending residential school.
The deaths of the 215 children buried in the grounds of what was once Canada’s most populous residential schools are believed to not have been included in that figure and seem to have been undocumented until the discovery.
Trudeau wrote in a tweet that the news broke his heart and that it was a sharp reminder of that obscure and shocking chapter in their country’s antiquity.
In 2008, the Canadian government formally atoned for the system, and the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation said it was engaging with the coroner and reaching out to the home communities whose children attended the school. They expect to have preliminary findings by mid-June.
In a statement, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee called finding such gravesites urgent work that refreshes the sadness and loss for all First Nations in British Columbia.
This is utterly repugnant and shocking and the treatment of these poor children is utterly barbaric, and this is because everyone thought that churches and priests, no matter what denomination were past reproach, and because colonialism forced Christianity and conformity onto the locals and if they didn’t obey they were slaughtered.
And I’m guessing that not everything has been reported and it’s far worse than people understand, and the victims were helpless children, which is incredibly sick, sad and disturbing.
Sadly this has been occurring all around the world over the centuries, with the removal of children from their families to erase the indigenous culture, and now we should be teaching the horrors of the empire in schools, but of course, there are vested interests who want it whitewashed from history, and it appears that the human race is truly despicable, and what a terribly short life these children lived, having been taken from their families and culture, and no amount of money will mend their broken culture.
But once again this is a discovery of the evil done to children in the name of God, and it just proves how society judges and treats people they think of as being substandard in some way, and this is disgusting behaviour that’s being repeated to this day in a way some people are treated and scorned by others, and it’s unsettling to try to understand how adults could treat small vulnerable children with such cruelty.