I recently read about this:
Location of Mass Graves of Residential School Children Revealed; Independent Tribunal Established
Squamish Nation Territory ("Vancouver, Canada") - At a public ceremony and press conference held today outside the colonial "Indian Affairs" building in downtown Vancouver, the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) released a list of twenty eight mass graves across Canada holding the remains of untold numbers of aboriginal children who died in Indian Residential Schools.
The list was distributed today to the world media and to United Nations agencies, as the first act of the newly-formed International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), a non-governmental body established by indigenous elders.
And there it is. Concrete, tactile, physical evidence of Canada's dirty little secret in bits of bone and decomposing flesh. The skeletons in our closet, if you will. And I am pissed off.
I am pissed off because this amounts to genocide. We came to the New World, and were strangers in a strange land. We were sometimes welcomed, sometimes driven off, sometimes traded with. We brought our God, our laws, our weapons and our diseases, and we used all of them to take this new land from the people who already lived here (who didn't really own it, really, because they didn't understand the concept of real estate, so they must have been subhuman), and then plow it under and eventually pave it over. We used all means at our disposal because Europeans were greedy, selfish, self righteous assholes.
A fun little aside about residential schools. When killing the locals got to be too big a pain, and breeding them out or outbreeding them wasn't working, we stole their children, put them in schools, punished them for speaking their language, beat them to teach them obedience, raped them because we could, hid the bodies when they died, and we were doing God's work. As far as I know, none of my ancestors were involved in this bullshit, but I still feel culpable.
I am pissed off because the government did this with the church. Not with the church's blessing, but with the actual fucking church (I've got puns coming out my asshole today). This one pretty good reason why the church needs to keep its hands off the state. Because the state does ugly things, and the church is supposed to be better than that. The church's hands are hardly clean, but the active extermination of a population of people should remain the exclusive purview of the Old Testament god, and self-righteous assholes motivated by profit.
I am pissed off because I had no fucking idea that this tribunal was taking place. I realize that it has little or no actual power, but the symbolism of trying the Government of Canada and these religious institutions is powerful, moving, and newsworthy. Why the fuck hasn't this been covered? We all need to feel ashamed by this, and we can't until we know what happened. I'm aware of the limitations placed upon individual reporters and the news media in general (mostly financial), but I'd like to think that some plucky journalist would defy the odds and the powers that be and stick a finger in the eye of the establishment.
We are NOT holier than thou. We have blood on our hands. We have acted despicably in the name of god, and we have kidnapped and killed children, and said that it was in their best interests.
We are a nation of monsters. Today, I am more ashamed of my country than I have ever been.