Headline, June 15 2021/ ''' '' CANADA'S MISSING CHILDREN '' ''' : STUDENTS



IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY - CANADA set aside land for Indigenous people through often dubious treaties, while outright seizing Indigenous land in some places, particularly in British Columbia.

Around 1883 the government added a new dimension to its exploitation of Indigenous people. Indigenous children / students in many parts of Canada were forced to attend residential schools, often far from their communities.

Most were operated by churches, and all of them banned the use of Indigenous languages and Indigenous cultural practices, often through violence. Disease as well as sexual, physical and emotional abuse were widespread.

The Kamloops school was operated by the Roman Catholic Church until 1969, when the federal government took over the school system. Reports by an inspector and a doctor indicated that the students at Kamloops were severely malnourished at times.

A National Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up by the Canadian government spent six years hearing from 6,750 witnesses to document the history of the schools.

In a report in 2015, it concluded that the system was a form of ''cultural genocide.'' The commission also called for an apology from the pope for the Roman Catholic church's role.

Some former students testified before the commission that many students died from disease, accidents,  fires and during attempts to escape, according to the commission.

Schools suffered mass deaths when infectious diseases swept through them, according to a report this year on the burial sites by Scott Hamilton, a professor of anthropology at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.


When children died at residential schools, their families were often given vague explanations or told that they had simply run away, the commission found. When the schools acknowledged the deaths of children, they generally refused, until the 1960s, to return their bodies to their families.

Remains were sent back only if it was cheaper than burying them at the schools.

In the report the commission estimated that at least 4,100 students had died or gone missing from the residential schools, and demanded that the government account for all those children. It did not, however, definitely say how many had disappeared.

Murray Sinclair, a former judge and senator who headed the commission, said in an email last week that he now believed that the number was ''well beyond 10,000.''

Since the commission ended, a federal project has been underway to document the fates of the students/children who never returned to their families after being sent to residential schools, and who are generally known as ''the missing children.''

Remains in unmarked graves have appeared or been discovered through construction or natural events at the sites of other former schools, although nothing on the scale of Kamloops.

Dr. Kisha Supernant, an Indigenous woman who directs the Institute for Prairie and Indigenous Archeology at the University of Alberta, has been leading teams that use ground-penetrating radar and other technologies to hunt for remains.

Professor Hamilton said that simply locating burial sites was often difficult because of poor record -keeping, lost records and the relocations of some schools.

''These graveyards are often now unmarked,'' he said. ''What they were like 50 or 60 years ago is anyone's guess. The challenge here is they have not been maintained. Once the schools were closed, the properties were often abandoned.''

THE ANNOUNCEMENT LAST MONTH THAT the remains of 215 indigenous children / students had been found on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School left Canada, and the whole world, reeling.

Flags throughout the country were put at half-staff and impromptu memorials of children's moccasins or shoes, often marked with ''215,'' have sprouted, including one in front of the Parliament building in Ottawa.

'' A lot of survivors, my relatives, they've been saying this for years and years - that there was a lot of death, there's a lot of unmarked graves,'' said Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Canada's largest Indigenous organization, referring to children who were taken from their families and forced to attend Canada's notorious residential schools like Kamloops to assimilate into Western culture.

''But nobody ever believed the survivors,'' he added. ''And now the discovery of the grave site at Kamloops, it's just horrific, it's tragic and it's painful.''

An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children passed through the schools between their opening, around 1883, and their closing in 1996.


During a special debate in the House of Commons on June 1, three days after the find was announced, Mr. Trudeau said Canada had failed the 215 children whose remains were discovered as well as the other children who never returned to their communities from the residential schools.

''Today, some of the children found in Kamloops, and who have yet to be found in other places across the country, would have been grandparents or great-grandparents,'' he said. ''They are not, and that is the fault of Canada.''

Mr. Trudeau said the government would heed calls from indigenous leaders for money and other help to use radar to search for the remains of students at other schools.

In 2019, the 27 million Canadian dollars, about $22.3 million today, that was budgeted to look for graves was not distributed.

Among the 215 bodies found by the radar, there appears to be one of a child who died as young as 3, said Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk'emlups te Secwepemic.

The Overwhelming Sadness of this Headline Research and Publishing is shared by the students of the entire world. The World Students Society so honors the departed students by naming a main subroutine to their memory as '' Kamloops ''. The World Students Society thanks author Ian Austen.

With most respectful dedication to the memory of all students who died and went missing as Canada's Indigenous Children, then Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

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