Canada is going through some things lately and its very troubling to watch as some folks deny and dismiss what we are; how we became us.
Ours is a story of European exploration and proxy battles that led to a nation being settled on land where nobody bothered to ask those who lived here if it was ok to do so. But it didn’t matter. The imperialists who set policy for the ‘new world’ were certain that any land in the west was theirs to take and those already here were savages and would accept their new rulers. If you wanted to know where white supremacy comes from, its what founded North America.
I write this as a white person who is learning the cold truth about what those who built Canada (and America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc) did to lay claim to their new nations. We tried to destroy those already here.
Our first nations were subjected to a legal and imperialist system they were never intended to be an equal party to. Our country, Canada, passed the Indian Act which was the inspiration for South Africa’s apartheid model.
Our government granted license to the church, largely the Catholic Church, to operate Indian Residential Schools. They were, by design, an attempt to force assimilation of first nation peoples into the society of Canada. We’re learning of thousands of newly discovered, unmarked graves of children, buried at sites owned or controlled by said schools.
Forget any qualifier questions of ‘well, how did they die?’ (though that is very important to know). Consider that these were unmarked graves – which means that someone made decisions that those children should be buried without knowledge of their existence.
Who goes out of their way to hide dead children?
I’m unmoved by anyone arguing that these kids might have died from natural causes. This might be true – even for a majority of cases, but more importantly – WHO are these children and WHY did they die.
I’ve written before that these kids deserve to have their names and a cause of death that they may finally rest in peace. But if you’re going to argue that such an investigation would cost to much – well fuck you. There are adult survivors walking around today from these schools who have no clue what happened to their sister or brother. There are elderly first nation peoples today that never knew what happened to their sons or daughters – except to be told that she or he ‘ran away’ from school.
What if this was your relative? Wouldn’t you want to know the truth?
My country did this. My country engaged in genocide and genocidal activities. We tried to eradicate a people because they were ‘different’. How does that make us any better than those we fought against in WW2?
Our last residential school closed in 1996.
No. I won’t be celebrating Canada Day this year. I’m not at all happy with how Canada became ‘great’. It was built upon the bodies, hidden in the dirt, a foundation of shame and lies.