Many hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children discovered at Canadian residential schools

…why does that matter?

“Not knowing” and “not caring” is not forgetting. You’ve all but conceded you got this wrong. You may as well go all the way.

I’m tangata whenua. Ngāpuhi. Don’t even start to lecture me on this. Don’t even attempt it. What happened to children here in Aotearoa was different to what happened to children in Australia and was different to what happened in Canada. You think I don’t know what happened to my brothers and sisters in Australia? You think a google search and a hyperlink will tell me more than I already know?

The complete and utter arrogance on display here. Unbelievable.

I’ll call them what I like thanks. I don’t need a lecture from you.

Stop gaslighting us. Stop minimizing what happened, stop pretending that this wasn’t unique because it was.

Because the dominant part of society is the part making decisions for everybody else.

Sure it is the same thing. Every school kid in Canada learned there were First Nations kids there, just like every New Yorker knows there are homeless people living in the streets there, and pretty much everybody in North America knows there are people in prisons and hospitals and foster care and shelters and so forth. Those people are not in the forefront of the collective consciousness, though; they are “forgotten.” (What sense of the word ‘forgotten’ are you using that it doesn’t include the people who are known to exist but who are not thought about by society at large?)

Okay, so tell me what is different and unique, because from where I stand, “kids from marginalized groups forcibly removed from their parents (with government sanction) and sent to institutions to purge them of their original culture and assimilate them into the dominant language/culture/religion, while frequently being subjected to terrible abuse and sometimes ending in unmarked graves” sounds like a pretty accurate summary of multiple programs in multiple countries.

Since this has degenerated into an argument between @slash2k and @Banquet_Bear that is going nowhere, I am going to close it.

Moderator Action

I am re-opening this thread.

@slash2k and @Banquet_Bear, you are both permanently topic banned from this thread. Do not post anything further to this thread.

Thank you for reopening. There’s likely to be further news coming out about this – there’s already some response from the Catholic church, one story linked below; but also with modern techniques, it may be possible to identify some of the individuals, and/or some of the causes of death, though it may take a while for any such information to come out.

Very, very sad story - heartbreaking. Here’s CNN’s most recent coverage:

And the Pope’s response is disappointing, at best.

While that specific article is not about the rapes. Many, many children, both male and female, were raped by both nuns and priests. There are many first account survivor stories about watching children be beaten to death for things like trying to escape. And then not being allowed to cry as they were put into unmarked graves.

This kind of playing it down and saying “it’s in the past” is the exact sort of bullshit that needs to stop. There needs to be a huge, public, official apology from both the government and the church. It needs to be taken as seriously as the Holocaust because that’s what it was - genocide.

Children were removed from their homes at gunpoint, which is called kidnapping in my world, taken to institutions where they stripped of their identity, beaten if they even spoke their own language, starved, raped and abused.

I have two friends who survived the “schools”. One had her teeth knocked out when a nun hit her in the mouth with a book when she was 10. She wasn’t able to get her teeth fixed until she was in her 50’s. My other friend’s brother froze to death while trying to run away back home when he was 7.

Until we, as a nation, stand up and admit our fault, the First Nations people will not be able to heal. The first step in healing is being believed. It’s embarrassing and shameful that we have not done this. It needs to be taken as seriously as the Holocaust is in Germany. Taught it schools, memorials, knowledge that everybody knows happened.

People who say “it wasn’t that bad” need to be treated the same as Holocaust deniers and shunned.

This just popped up in my news feed:

There needs to be an immediate and drastic shift in how we see and treat Indigenous people.

The United Church issued an apology in 1998, for what it’s worth.

I find myself in agreement that the time has passed for us to ask politely for the Catholic Church in Canada and in the Vatican to divulge Every. Single. Record. about residential schools in Canada. We require every single thing that they have.

We’ve asked. A full and complete accounting of records has not been provided. It is time for the RCMP to do a complete physical and electronic document search, and they need to physically attend the Catholic church locations where these records are kept and confiscate any and all records.
Any and all living people that had any administrative or other role at these schools need to be interviewed by a special police investigative unit - not “invited” to talk to them, but REQUIRED to attend an interview - under oath, with criminal penalties for lying.

I’m absolutely DONE with asking politely.

This is MPSIMS, not the Pit or other venues.

Saying Holocaust deniers should be shunned is hardly pit-worthy. But thanks JM.

No, you implied that anyone who didn’t want the Pope and the Canadian government lined up and shot is a Holocaust denier.

This is, by no means, anything close to or comparable to the Holocaust.

By comparing this to where the Government deliberately killed 20 million innocents is more like denying the Holocaust, since you are minimizing the horrors of the Holocaust by doing so.

No one said that. Chill. As you say, this is MPSIMS. Let’s try to keep this thread open, and not devolve into another fight.

Also, (to all) please report, don’t junior mod.

And not returned to their families? Put in a mass grave? Yeah, that makes it totally ok.

where did I say it was OK?

In fact I said the opposite:
but the horror is not the deaths so much, but where and why the deaths occurred, the children dying away from their loving families.

You guys are getting too excited for MPSIMS, putting words in peoples mouths, etc. I will bow out of this thread.

With all due respect to Canada – was this a thing perpetrated by the churches? Or was this a thing that the Canadian government authorized and arranged for, and they just found some churches that were willing to house the children the government had stolen from their parents?

This specific graveyard is part of a much larger overall attempt, in which multiple organizations and individuals were complicit, to destroy the First Nations within Canada as cultures, in the process willingly destroying many of the individual members of those cultures.

And that specific pattern of behavior is part of a much larger, much older, and still ongoing pattern of human behavior. Since the beginning of history and probably before, human groups have been trying to destroy other human groups: whether by killing them, by enslaving them and forcing them to follow the culture of the captors (sometimes including forced marriage and claiming the children), by forced conversion, by destruction of languages, by forbidding customs and rituals, by combinations of all of the above.

It’s wrong. It’s horrendous. And it’s stupid; partly because it loses us the skills and talents of the destroyed members of those cultures, partly because it loses us the knowledge of those cultures, and partly because, in attempting to impose one way of life on everybody, it damages both individuals (whoever they’re born to) who would do well in other cultures but not in that one, and our chances of surviving whatever the universe throws at us in the next million or whatever years.

It’s horrendous and stupid and wrong. And we need to stop doing it.

But we’re not going to stop doing it by saying (none of this is direct quotes) ‘oh, everybody did that sort of thing and it was a long time ago.’ (It’s happening, various places, to various people, right now.) And we’re not going to stop it by saying ‘they meant well, we know better now.’ And we’re not going to stop doing it by saying ‘that one example was so bad that nobody should ever compare anything else to it’; or by picking specific bits out of the larger pattern and saying ‘this one bit doesn’t look as bad as this larger piece over there so why make a fuss over it’; or by saying ‘the problem was this specific government, or this specific culture, or this specific religion, or this specific time.’

The problem is us. This is a thing that humans do: we try to destroy the Other.

It’s not the only thing that humans do. (If it were, we wouldn’t be here.) We also defend, and try to learn from, and fall in love with the Other. But it is a thing that humans do, and we’re not going to stop doing it until we’re able to say ‘This is a thing that humans do. And we are humans. It’s horrendous and it’s stupid and it’s wrong. So we need to be damn careful that we don’t do it.’

And in order to stop ourselves from doing it we need to look at every incident we find; look at it hard and face on, and try to put actual faces to it, the best we can: so that we can see and can have jammed into our own faces and our own brains that it’s horrendous and stupid and wrong.

It’s ugly. It’s ugly, quite literally, as hell. We don’t want to look at it. But if we refuse to look at it: we’re going to find ourselves doing it. Over and over and over again.

Not every individual, no. In just about every case we know enough about to be able to tell, there were also people trying to stop it. But no human group is immune.