My love to the people and families, the dead children and the abused, starved, sickened, brainwashed with lying religion, and raped children that survived. Healing won’t come from corrupt churches, pope after pope, any gov’t or prime minister. Healing comes from your stories, family, community, courage, love and truth, and within.
…and a small voice whispers, “They found us.”
Mi’kmaw artist Whitney Gould of We’koqma’q drew this re the above quote. It’s very beautiful and powerful.
‘Pompous posturing’: Calgary Bishop Fred Henry accuses Trudeau of deflecting blame on residential schools, But Henry also admitted the moral failures of spiritual leaders at the schools can’t be brushed off by Bill Kaufmann, Jun 08, 2021, Calgary Herald
However, the survivor of a Catholic-run northern Alberta residential school said the church’s guilt in the severity of how they were directly run can’t be overlooked or shuffled elsewhere.
“I hold the government responsible and the religious denominations responsible because (the churches) had the boots on the ground,” said Cora Voyageur, a sociology professor at the University of Calgary.
“The churches could have said, ‘We don’t want any part of it,’ but they never did … there was an idea from the churches of religious and spiritual supremacy and they were in the community — the government wasn’t.”
Already-existing missionary schools were often enlisted by Ottawa to continue and widen the assimilation effort, said Voyageur.
Religious denominations, she said, profited off running the schools just as governments did from the labour of the children attending the schools.
Voyageur, who’s written extensively on the issue, recalled the mistreatment and substandard food foisted upon students when she attended Holy Angels Residential School at Fort Chipewyan in the late 1960s.
“There was the random violence — it could have been any of us it was directed at,” she said. “The food was so bad and I remember opening a door and seeing all the fresh fruit and baked goods on a table that the priests and brothers were eating.”
‘Where is the reconciliation?’: Tsuut’ina Nation honours residential school victims, survivors at silent march, ‘This is what we call culture and everybody’s got a story. That’s why we’re calling it a silent walk because not all of us have told our story yet’ by Olivia Condon, Jun 07, 2021, Calgary Herald
A sea of orange could be seen blanketing Bullhead Road on the Tsuut’ina First Nation Monday as hundreds of community members and allies turned out to honour residential school survivors and the children who never made it home.
Masked for health and in silent respect for the 215 children found buried on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, the march led participants from the Tsuut’ina Health Services building to the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex where ceremony and speeches took place.
“This is what we call culture and everybody’s got a story,” Deanna Starlight said ahead of the march.
“That’s why we’re calling it a silent walk because not all of us have told our story yet.”
Deanna went to residential school and her husband Bruce Starlight attended day school. Though different in that the latter could go home to his family after the school day, Bruce said the atrocities still took place.
“Their experience was more horrendous than ours … Ours was a little less but the genocide was still there,” he said.
For the Starlights, hearing every story of what happened in the residential school system from survivors must happen for healing to begin.
“You hear all these stories but you haven’t heard it from all the real victims and that’s what some of us don’t like,” Deanna said.
“You need the firsthand, you need the truth. I don’t like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission because I’m telling the truth and where is the reconciliation?”
They agree that honouring the children lost is imperative.
“We need to find all the burial sites, make peace with all those little ones that are still waiting,” Bruce said.
“Their spirits are still there and very much alive,” Deanna added.
For Tsuut’ina First Nation Chief Roy Whitney next steps depend on how the Kamloops Indigenous leadership and community see the best way to move forward.
“The things that communities have called for across the land and want to be occurring are the government opening their files, Indian affairs opening their files, the Prime Minister admitting that it’s genocide, the Catholic church working their way in. But it wasn’t just them, it was all denominations,” he said.
“It’s sad they were hired by the government, they were paid to do what they did, so the fiduciary responsibility lies with the government.”
Chief Whitney added the federal government has the capacity to instill positive change for First Nations across the country by “changing actual laws of the land to incorporate the recognition of Indian governments.”
“It can’t just be policy driven and nice talks.”
A mass grave, Justin Trudeau, and Gaza, Hypocrisy oozes from the Canadian prime minister’s statements on the Indigenous children mass grave by Andrew Mitrovica, June 7, 2021, Aljazeera
Justin Trudeau is a lie.
Canada’s prime minister has proven that he is a calculating chameleon devoid of convictions, who, when the circumstances oblige, is conditioned to star in self-aggrandising photo-ops and spout banal platitudes – all with the sincerity of a mannequin.
Fresh evidence of Trudeau’s flimsy, fraudulent essence came courtesy of his predictably hackneyed and fatuous reaction to the grotesque discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children in a mass, unmarked grave at an abandoned “residential school” in British Columbia.
These abducted children are a fraction of the more than 150,000 Indigenous children who were, for more than a century, systematically stolen from their parents, homes and nations, then dressed like dolls and stuffed into internment camps run with military discipline by Catholic zealots where they suffered disfiguring indignities to mind, body and spirit.
More than 6,000 Indigenous children perished in these internment camps – the casualties of religious indoctrination, loneliness, disease, neglect, brutality, starvation, and sexual abuse that, taken together, constituted state-sanctioned genocide.
When word emerged in late May that the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation had unearthed the mass grave with scores of children – some as young as three – buried in it, Trudeau’s first impulse was to rush to an ephemeral social media platform to share a vapid message when the halting moment and decency demanded a serious and solemn response.
“The news that remains were found at the former Kamloops residential school breaks my heart – it is a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history. I am thinking about everyone affected by this distressing news. We are here for you,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter on May 28, careful to keep, no doubt, within the online platform’s 280-character limit.
It is necessary to deconstruct Trudeau’s astonishingly trite tweet to reveal not only its signature glibness but also this prime minister’s rank, disingenuous nature and historical illiteracy.
That, years later, the remains of hundreds of children were found on the grounds of the internment camp where they were persecuted and died alone is not “distressing news”.
It is, more accurately, further proof of the genocide that was and is still being committed against Indigenous peoples by white settlers who largely recoil or reject outright the considered conclusion that Canada’s First Nations were and remain victims of precisely that: genocide.
This stubborn, pervasive denial may account for Trudeau’s perfunctory, cliché-ridden suggestion that the disposal of the bodies of Indigenous children into a grimy, sodden pit “breaks my heart” and represents a “painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history”.
The genocide perpetrated on Canada’s Indigenous peoples is not, as Trudeau claims, simply a “chapter” in the country’s “dark” history with a neat, discernible beginning and end.
Rather, it is, as one astute parliamentarian has noted, the “entire plot” of how evangelical settlers went deliberately and brazenly about – starting before Canada’s Confederation in 1867 – colonising and, if need be, erasing Indigenous peoples and their ancient beliefs, customs and traditions as part of an expressed policy to “kill the Indian in the child”.
Trudeau’s pat insistence that the systemic, often obliterating cruelty towards Canada’s First Nations is “shameful” implies that most Canadians have acknowledged, let alone accepted any measure of guilt for the horrors inflicted on Indigenous children, women and men in the name of God and country – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
They have not.
Indeed, it was only in 2019 that, after some dithering, Trudeau was grudgingly compelled to “accept” that the country he leads committed genocide but only with respect to missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women in recent decades.
And this past week, I suspect that many Canadians were too seized with a playoff game between two bitter hockey rivals – the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens – to have given more than passing consideration to “news” of their nation’s culpability in the disappearance of 215 small bodies into a mass grave among so many other as-yet-undiscovered small bodies in so many other as-yet-undiscovered mass graves.
As such, whatever “pain” Canadians may have experienced after learning of the homemade depravity may be fleeting.
The long, contemptible record, on this score, is plain: Trudeau and his duplicitous predecessors have reneged again and again and again on supposedly sacrosanct promises to achieve “reconciliation” with and to redress the grinding racism and inhumane outrages visited on Indigenous peoples.
They have promised to address the persistent lack of access of Indigenous peoples to clean drinking water and housing. They have promised to address the violent abuse and neglect of Indigenous peoples in hospitals. They have promised to address the imprisonment and suicides of Indigenous peoples in staggering numbers. They have promised to address the disappearance and murders of Indigenous children and women in equally staggering numbers. Finally, they have promised to address the continuing trespass and plunder of Indigenous lands.
All the while, in a blatant and appalling act of hypocrisy, Trudeau and company spent millions battling internment camp survivors in court over compensation for the indelible harm they have endured.
Given the litany of lies and deceit, Trudeau’s parting, typically insipid greeting-card-like salutation that “We are here for you” did little to persuade anyone other than partisans or the gullible that the prime minister or his delinquent government is ready to offer Canada’s grievously injured Indigenous peoples anything more than vacuous grandiloquent comfort.
Still, Trudeau is adept at conveying tissue-thin gravitas through contrived, performative displays of empathy.
Recall when this jejune prime minister dropped to one knee amid a convenient crush of media in alleged solidarity with the anti-racist Black Lives Matter movement in the humiliating aftermath of the broadcast of a slew of pictures and video featuring an adult Trudeau repeatedly donning racist blackface.
So, when Trudeau’s initial response to the mass grave’s discovery was faulted as inadequate and unbecoming of the profundity of the monstrous finding, on cue, he belatedly ordered Canadian flags on the Peace Tower in Ottawa and other federal buildings to be lowered to half-mast.
The symbolic directive was aimed at not only mollifying his critics but also demonstrating that Trudeau and the country were unified in grief and remembrance.
It was another tired, unconvincing performance.
A day later, on May 31, Trudeau ratcheted up his rhetoric, presumably to impress the First Nations “communities” that he, in effect, feels their pain.
“These were children who deserved to be happy. Most of all, they deserved to be safe. As a dad, I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have my kids taken away from me. And as prime minister, I am appalled by the shameful policy that stole Indigenous children from their communities,” he said.
Ironically, Trudeau’s remarks – designed to advertise his caring paternal credentials – confirmed much about his mendacious character and nauseating double standards about the sanctity of life.
Remember that not once during Israel’s relentless 11-day bombardment of Gaza in May that killed 66 children and maimed, traumatised and orphaned so many others – all of whom also deserved to be happy and safe – did Trudeau ever say that he was “appalled” by the terror that Canada’s dear friend and ally had unleashed, once more, on besieged Palestinians.
Remember, as well, that not once did Trudeau commiserate as a “dad” with grieving Palestinian mothers and fathers who, once more, had to brave (not imagine) their sons and daughters being “taken away” suddenly and violently by a ruthless, occupying army intent on prosecuting a “shameful policy” of apartheid.
Though they are separated by time and distance, this is the inescapable truth that binds children killed by Israel in the prison known as occupied Palestine with Indigenous children killed by Canada in the prisons once known as “residential schools”: their killers considered the children disposable.
Trudeau will never, of course, admit this truth because he prefers, instead, to spin agreeable, picture-postcard-pretty myths about who and what he is.