TEHRAN, January 30 (MNA) – The natives of Canada and the US have a painful past.
This truth was revealed when the mass graves of hundreds of Indigenous children who died while attending boarding schools were discovered in Canada in the summer of 2021.For decades, a large number of Indigenous children in Canada who were taken from their families and forced into boarding schools never returned home.
An investigative team has found 66 more potential unmarked graves at a former residential school in British Columbia, the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) said Wednesday at a press conference.
It brings the number to 159 found at the former Saint Joseph's Mission Residential School -- 93 were uncovered in May 2021.
Run by the Catholic Oblates order, thousands of Indigenous children were forced to attend the Mission operated between 1886 and 1981.
More than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forced to attend the 139 Indian Residential Schools.
The first one opened around 1825 and the last closed in the 1990s.
The schools were funded by the Canadian government and run by various religious denominations.
Their mission was to wipe out Indigenous traditions and assimilate the children into white culture.
More than 4,100 children are thought to have died in the schools, sometimes buried in mass graves and at other times in graves that, if they were marked, became obscured over the years.
More than 1,900 unmarked graves have been uncovered to date.
Last year, the findings of mass graves of indigenous children in Canada also caused an uproar in the world, and it seems that the story is still going on.
Some experts and observers believe that the findings of mass graves of indigenous children indicate dark and shameful chapter in the history of Canada, during which the Canadian government separated indigenous children from their families to send them to boarding schools affiliated with Catholic churches or for adoption to white families in line with the prohibition of using their mother tongue.
Numerous reports of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of these children have been released and the available documents show that the students of these schools were exposed to the spread of measles, tuberculosis, influenza and other infectious diseases and many lost their lives.
But it is clear that these chronically and intentionally underfunded institutions actually caused the high death rates among students.
What is also indisputable, based on the government’s own records, is that generations of federal government officials and politicians knew that the subpar conditions in the schools were killing children and choosing to do nothing.
According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), the Indian Residential School system was an attempted “cultural genocide,” but the escalating number of recovered unmarked graves points to something even darker.
The internal conditions of the schools were unpleasant.
Their buildings were poorly heated and unsanitary, and children were exposed to emotional, physical, and sexual danger.
According to experts, at least 3,200 indigenous children died while attending school, although the number is said to be likely much higher.
An estimated 6,000 children die at the schools, according to the former chair of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Murray Sinclair.
Many Indigenous peoples blame the residential boarding schools that have played a major role in the lives of generations in Canada for social problems such as alcoholism, domestic violence and high suicide rates.
Canadian politician Celina R Caesar-Chavannes in her July 2021 interview with Mehr News Agency said, “There is no doubt that residential schools were designed to eliminate Indigenous culture, not just for land, but also for the belief that their culture was inferior to that of the European settlers on the land.
It is the entire foundation on which colonialism is built.
The removal of native people from their land, source of energy and livelihood for the perpetuation of the idea of “white supremacy”.” The release of the horrifying story of the discovery of hundreds of mass graves on the grounds of old residential schools, from which the bodies of Canadian indigenous children were removed, caused tension in this country claiming human rights and a dispute between the Canadian government and the Vatican.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged Pope Francis to visit Canada to apologize to indigenous peoples for the Catholic church’s treatment of aboriginal children in schools it ran there.
In a visit to Canada, Pope Francis apologized to Canada's Indigenous communities for the church's harmful legacy over residential schools.
“I ask forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the Church and of religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools.” In general, the recent discovery of unmarked graves at boarding schools in Canada is like a nightmare for many Indigenous Americans and Canadians that has never been forgotten.
First published in Tehran Times