Canada Day Unfolds Dark History Of Killing Of Indigenous Children

The colonial legacy of thousands of indigenous children’s unmarked graves marks the dawn of reputation on Canada Day leaving PM Trudeau short of words.

The discovery of thousands of indigenous children’s unmarked graves sparked a new demand to cancel Canada’s national day celebration. The country which repeatedly condemned the “cultural genocide” of Uyghur Muslims failed to provide justice to the indigenous community on its own land.

Three grim discoveries of unmarked graves on grounds of a former residential school left the country horrified and in shame. It exposed the inability of the Canadian government to safeguard the rights of indigenous communities like First Nations, Inuit, and Metis groups.

Unmarked graves were found at a former Catholic school in Saskatchewan, Canada. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The most recent discovery of 182 on grounds of a former residential school in British Columbia, 751 in Saskatchewan, and 215 in Kamloops left the country on a soul-search. Several Indigenous communities have now taken the matter into their hands. These people decided to search for more unmarked graves and question the Canadian government.

A memorial is seen outside the Residential School on June 13 in Kamloops, British Columbia. (AP/The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)

It unfolded the darkest chapter of state-funded, Catholic-run residential schools which were responsible for the persecution of the indigenous children.

The outspoken Canadian Prime Minister on the worldwide genocide event failed to provide justice to his own people. The government investigation on the matter failed to come up with any relevant result.

The remains of the gruesome killings marked civilian unrest. The frustrated indigenous communities allegedly burned down numerous Catholic and Anglican churches in the past two weeks in north-western and southern British Columbia, the same region where graves were found.

The long-oppressed survivors of indigenous communities demanded an apology from Pope Francis. Although he recently agreed to a papal apology for the Catholic role in the abuse and deaths of native children, he insisted for the talks to be later this year and wait for abatement of the pandemic.

Pope Francis declined to apologize for the abuses in 2018 [Reuters]

According to the Canadian Conference of Catholics, Francis will be accompanied by three groups First Nations, Metis, and Inuit on a delegation in December in the Vatican.

But what was the role of the residential schools in gruesome abuse? These schools, operating across Canada, forcefully took the indigenous children from their families for over 150 years. In these church-run facilities, the children were forbidden to speak their language in the same way as Uyghur Muslims are being forced to learn to adopt Chinese culture by abandoning their native tongue.

Although the residential schools got closed in 1996, the unmasking of recent events leaves the country in doubt. In the span of 150 years, over 1,50,000 children experienced incarceration and mass oppression. These children never returned. They were either killed or were taken away by illness.

One of the 130 compulsory residential schools was St Eugene Mission School near Cranbrook, British Columbia. Funded by the Canadian government and run by religious authorities from 1912 to the 1970s, forcibly removed native children from their families. Recently, over 182 graves were discovered over here.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the historical and ongoing injustice, he failed to provide a clear map for the reconciliation. At least 50 municipalities across the nation have canceled the Canada day celebration and over 15 communities plan for peaceful protest in order to honor the lives lost.

Canada Day not only marks the cultural genocide of indigenous communities for forceful assertion of Euro-centric culture but also humiliation day following the 1923 Chinese Immigration Act when Chinese were banned from entering the country.

The 2016 census revealed that Indigenous people, who identify only 5 percent of the population, accounted for over 52.2% of total foster children in Canada. The families face high levels of poverty, violence, and short life experiences. According to the Angus Reid Institute Poll on diversity and racism, 30 percent of the entire indigenous population feel like outsiders.

With the unveiling of recent events, the native communities gained solidarity from the Canadians. Social Media witnessed the spiraling of #CancelCanadaDay. Victoria, British Columbia became the first city to cancel its Canada Day program.

While Ottawa, the capital city, held a #CancelCanadaDay march, Toronto planned to host rallies to honor the victims and survivors of the Indigenous communities. The reckoned time with many witnessed movements brought the entire repression on the global domain.

The Canadian government needs to take strict action in order to make up for the dark past if they want to keep their reputation afloat. The Truth and Reconciliation report recommended 94 calls to action, of which only a few have been yet implemented. According to the Nation-led Yellowhead research center 2020 investigation, only eight of the recommended 94 calls have been fully implemented.

To cancel Canada Day merely provides any kind of relief or recognition to the suffered communities. The indigenous communities witnessed forced sterilization, police brutality, mass killings, social and racial discrimination.

Many Canadians demanded more awareness of the cultural genocide suffered by the aboriginal people. In order to show solidarity, several people decided to wear orange instead of red and white to signify the residential school experiences.

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