We all, obviously, knew that the finding of graves near those residential schools for First Nations kids was going to bring the race-mongers out of the woodwork. So, this in The Guardian isn’t all that much of a surprise:
Native children didn’t ‘lose’ their lives at residential schools. Their lives were stolen
Erica Violet Lee
Terms like residential school are deeply inadequate. These were not schools; they were prisons and forced labour camps
Well, no, not really.
Assume that all those graves found are of children of the schools. Assume that the numbers bandied are correct – 4,100 kids out of 150,000 who went through the schools. That’s a death rate of perhaps 3%.
That’s high, massive, by modern standards (the rate for youth deaths, so including infants and children is perhaps 0.5% for UK and Canada these days, the rate for children from 1 to 15 being perhaps half that). 3% is also astonishingly low by historical standards when it was about 25% each for infants and children.
That death rate starting to fall around perhaps 1850 and it was still around 3% – the total youth rate, infants and children – in the year I was born in the 1960s in the UK.
Often, parents were not notified at all, or the children were said to have died from sickness – an excuse commonly used to justify intentional genocides of Indigenous nations, predicated on our supposed biological inferiority.
The schools existed from the 1890s to the 1960s. Dependent upon which year you wish to compare with more generally that death rate was low to high.
But there’s much more to it than just this:
On 27 May 2021, the graves of at least 215 Native children were officially uncovered at the former Kamloops Indian residential school on Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation, in the city of Kamloops, British Columbia. Less than a month later, 751 unmarked graves were located at Marieval Indian residential school on Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan. Six days later, 182 unmarked graves were located at the site of St Eugene’s mission school in Cranbrook, BC. As the days pass, more communities are unearthing such tragedies.
The outcome of this long-awaited reckoning involves multiple Native nations across the land delving into their own soils, pursuing the stories we’ve all heard from our elders and knowledge-keepers.
Well, yes, why not have a word with the knowledge keepers?
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that ground-penetrating radar found 182 unmarked graves in a cemetery at the site of the former Kootenay Residential School at St. Eugene Mission just outside Cranbrook, B.C.
The remains were found when remedial work was being performed in the area to replace the fence at the cemetery last year.
Sophie Pierre, former chief of the St Mary’s Indian Band and a survivor of the school itself, told Global News that while the news of the unmarked graves had a painful impact on her and surrounding communities, they had always known the graves were there.
This is interesting, isn’t it?
“There’s no discovery, we knew it was there, it’s a graveyard,” Pierre said. “The fact there are graves inside a graveyard shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.”
Pierre said while there is a possibility there are some children who attended the school were buried in the cemetery, more work is required to confirm those details.
“There could very well be, and in good likelihood, some children that were in the residential school that died here because of TB or other diseases, and were buried there,” Pierre said. “But it’s a graveyard.”
Given that her own grandparents are in that graveyard it’s not true that all the graves are of children:
The graveyard near Cranbrook originally dates back to Christian missionaries who settled in the area in the early 1800s, prior to the construction of the school. A church and a hospital were also built in the area.
It eventually became a graveyard for the community, which it remains to this day.
“We just buried one of our people there last month,” Pierre said. “Anyone who died in my community would be buried there.”
Westminster School is close to Westminster Abbey therefore Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin were killed at Westminster School, right?
Yes, the First Nations often did get screwed. But there’s still no excuse for this ahistorical race mongering.