Warning: This story makes reference to abuse.
On what normally be a day to celebrate, we are taking this Canada Day to reflect on the treatment of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. In the past month, 215 and 751 unmarked graves of children have been found at 2 of the 139 former residential schools in Canada. (Yesterday another 182 unmarked graves were found at a 3rd site).
From 1894-1996 all across Canada, at least 150 000 Indigenous children, aged 4-16, were forcibly taken from their families to live in church run schools. Here they suffered terrible abuse and neglect. This was done to prevent the parents from rebelling against the government and to take the Indigenous culture from the children. It is estimated 40-60% of the children died while in government/church care, however, due to lack of existing records, we will likely never know exactly how many.
The residential school system reflects just one of the Canadian government's policies of genocide. All these policies have caused generational trauma, social issues and extreme racism in the country I love. They make my heart hurt.
Instead of fireworks, we will be lighting a candle and thinking of the horrors those poor children and their families were forced to endure. We will be looking for guidance from the Indigenous communities on how we move forward as a country.
Every child matters.
Here is a LINK to Cree artist Kent Monkman's work The Scream (2017), that captures the removal of Indigenous children from their families. He is an amazing artist whose works capture colonialization in a profound way. You can learn more about him HERE.