Over 200 unmarked graves of Indigenous children discovered at BC residential school

In Kamloops. One of the 130(?) schools.

The excusing of it all as historical only works if you focus on the 1800s side of things and ignore that this shit went on until well into the second half of the 20th century.

At the same time Canadians were liberating Belsen, back home, it was still mandatory for First Nations children to get sent to charnel houses residential schools. “Different times”, my ass.

Disgusting behaviour but why would it be a surprise to anyone that the RCC is found knee-deep in yet another atrocity?

With a cuddly (yet unrepentant) Pope at the helm it is easy to forget what the church would do when they thought they could get away with it and when they thought certain groups were not catholic enough or civilised enough or important enough.

Mass graves seem to be a strangely recurring theme for an organisation that considers itself deeply concerned with human dignity.

Lots of graves, very few apologies.

Surprise is not a requirement for disgust or anger.

It was rhetorical, there cannot be anyone left on the planet who would be surprised at the depths that the RCC can plumb.

This wasn’t only the RCC. They weren’t the only church involved, not all the schools were run by churches, and the whole thing was government sanctioned.

Trying to blame it all on the RCC is another way of trying to look away from it. ‘The whole problem is this specific batch of people!’ No, it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

I think you’re struggling to associate this, frankly stupid, analogy of yours to what actually happened here. The larger portion of the students of these schools did survive to adulthood and benefitted undeniably from being educated and literate.

A lot of people would strongly dispute that depriving the native people of their culture and language worked to improve their lives. And being dead certainly didn’t.

I guess the argument is something like: Well sure the beatings and anal raping were bad, and led you to a life of alcoholism and misery, but hey you can read, so quit yer bitching and shut up”

I want to address the idea expressed earlier in the thread that the children who succumbed to diseases would have died from them if they’d been home. Not true. While measles, influenza, TB, typhoid, etc. could be fatal, we know that the overcrowding, malnutrition, faulty sewage systems, inadequate heating and ventilation, and inadequate medical care at these boarding schools dramatically increased the death rates of these diseases.

"The disease and deaths and the cause of them were known to all. Indian agent MacArthur commented, in 1910, in view of the situation at Duck Lake [Saskatchewan], where he estimated that, in the past, at least fifty percent of the children sent to the school died: “[No one] responsible can get beyond the fact that those children catch the disease while at school” confined for months on end “in a building whose every seam and crevice is, doubtless, burdened with Tuberculosis Baccilli.”

While most of the children came from poor families, their homes were not death traps.

The deaths from disease should not be regarded as exceptions but as further proof of the horrific abuse and neglect that caused other deaths in the schools.

No-one is trying to blame all such incidents on the RCC, (there is blame enough to go round for all institutions) but the school referred to in the OP was run by the Catholic Church.
For this case at least I’m sure we can all agree that bulk of the anger can be rightfully directed at those people who were directly in charge of the day to day mistreatment.
They were not forced to run the schools this way at gunpoint, there is always the option to say “no, this is not right!” Which this particular organisation failed to do and now seems hesitant to apologise for.

American commentators should be aware that Canada then had nothing resembling a Bill of Rights. It was a benign dictatorship governed by men whose wealth and stature gave the appearance of virtue. Only in 1960 was there a “Bill of Rights”, a loose federal law that could be altered by parliamentary whim. In 1982, finally, came the Canadian Charter, which corresponds in scope and power to the Amendments to the US Constitutions.

So if you are looking for someone to blame, it might have been a single incompetent functionary running his own feudal state in a remote mountain enclave, subject to no oversight or informed guidance, with no-one having a voice to complain…

Or we could, you know just blame the murderous perverts who tortured, abused, starved and killed people motivated by racism and religious bigotry and continue to deny and minimize it to this day.

So… There are three separate things one might be appalled at in this case:

  1. children were kidnapped from their parents at gunpoint with the intention of “killing the Indian in them”. This was perpetrated by the state, with the help of several churches.
  2. children were physically abused at this particular institution. They were starved, beaten, sexually abused by staff and by other children, and subjected to an unhealthy environment that led to an enormous mortality rate as compared to the mortality rate for Canadian kids at the time. This is the fault of that institution and whoever ran it, although no doubt the state turned a blind eye.
  3. there appears to have been a cover up here (and probably in many of the other schools), as evidenced by the unmarked graves and that cover-up containers to this day, as evidenced by the reticence of the Catholic church to turn over records.

Now, no doubt (1) routinely led to (2), just as the legal institution of slavery routinely led to abuse of slaves. But we can still make moral distinctions between slaveowners who were mostly decent for their time, and those who got off on abusing their human chattel. Honestly, this school sounds like the latter.

But most of the people who perpetrated (1) and (2) are dead. Whereas there are living people still engaged in (3). And i think that’s why the discovery of the graves sparked such outage.

That’s true. And they most certainly should be apologizing.

Nonsense. This is one set of graves that’s been found, but it wasn’t one school; and none of them were unsupported by anybody other than one person.

And at numerous others within this system, as attested to by survivors.

This school closed in the late 1980’s. The last of them closed in the mid 1990’s. Not only are there living survivors, but, while “most” of the perpetuators of a system started in the late 1800’s presumably are indeed dead, it seems extremely likely that there are living perpetuators.

I’m not sure that it’s sparked the outrage; I think it’s drawn the attention of a much larger number of people to what’s been continuing outrage on the part of the survivors and the families of the survivors and the dead. What it’s done is to prove that all those people reporting unmarked graves were entirely correct in at least one instance, and that their other reports should no longer be ignored.

Good point. Do we have any idea how old the graves are? Do we have any sense from survivors and their heirs if conditions in the late twentieth century were better, worse, or about the same as conditions earlier?

I haven’t seen anything on the likely age of the graves, but investigation of the remains is under discussion. My guess is that this information will eventually be at least partially available, but that it’ll take some time first to be determined, and then possibly some time for further discussion with the families etc. before it’s released to the public. One of multiple reasons why I’d like to see this thread remain open indefinitely is so that we can add that information when it comes out, whether that’s weeks or months or years from now, instead of having to start all over.

I expect there’s information from survivors about whether conditions changed over time, but am not sure where to find it. The answer might not be the same for all the schools.

Some of you make it sound like Canadians gleefully volunteered to torture babies. In the 30s, anyone was glad to have any job, and they went by the book. Like drafted soldiers in an unjust war.

Canada took the position that every child be educated. Those who could not reach a day school were placed in boarding schools., often under churches. Times were not pretty, in the cold north during the depression. Most of those from whom you are demanding an apology, probably wept daily over the plight of the children.

This wasn’t “education”.
This was forced “reeducation” at gunpoint.

This ‘education’ destroyed generations of children and parents. Their stated aim from the get go was to humiliate the Indian out of them. Good intentions can’t erase that. It needs to be acknowledged in full not excused and downplayed.

Reconciliation only comes after truth.

It sounds like you don’t have the faintest clue about this entire issue, the long history behind it, or what actually went on at these schools. There was no book that was followed (written or unwritten) that said “if a student talks back, smash their teeth out” or “if you like the looks of a student, anally rape them”, or “if a student is sick with TB, give them broth and ignore them until they’re dead and them toss them in an unmarked grave” or “when asked for the records stonewall, deny you have them and otherwise refuse to cooperate.”

The excuse of “I was just doing my job going by the book” did not work at Nuremburg either.