IIHR calls for an apology and a thorough research of Canada’s indigenous mass graves
The Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR) joined indigenous and human rights organizations so that the government of Canada could investigate the cases of abuse and death of hundreds of indigenous children who disappeared from institutions run by the Catholic Church.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada determined in 2015 that many children from indigenous communities were victims of physical and sexual abuse in these internships. In addition, at least 4,000 of them were killed by diseases, neglect, malnutrition, accidents or mistreatment, said the IIHR.
After concluding the Sunday prayer of the Angelus, the Supreme Pontiff commented that he joined the bishops and the Catholic Church of Canada, “to express my closeness to the Canadian people, traumatized by the terrible news” and added that “the sad discovery raises awareness of the pain and suffering of the past”.
But while the pope expressed that he endorsed the pain of the people of Canada after the discovery of the remains of 215 aboriginal children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in the western province of British Columbia was made public at the end of May, the Papa Pancho did not apologize for the fact that it directly implicates the Catholic Church.
The Kamloops Indian Residential School, where the remains were found, was the largest facility of its kind in Canada and was run by the institution between 1890 and 1969.
A few days earlier, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, had directly addressed asking the Pope to “step forward” and urging him to take responsibility. “As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed in the position the Catholic Church has taken now and for the past few years,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau also referred to the visit he made some years ago to the Vatican to talk with the Pope about the importance of the Catholic Church speaking out on the matter. “Apologize, restore, and make the records available.”
A dark chapter in Canadian history
A macabre chapter in Canada’s hidden history has made headlines after a geo-radar located the bodies of 215 indigenous children in a Unregistered mass grave located on the grounds of the former Kamloops boarding school, explained Brenda Romo, a specialist in North American Affairs.
Like 150,000 other indigenous children who were uprooted from their families and communities and placed in boarding schools, These 215 children (some as young as 3 years old), whose bodies were found in Tk’emlúps, were part of a grand colonial program designed to strip indigenous nations of their history and culture, and nullify their future. To achieve this, Canada put in place a system with which it intended to “kill the Indian inside the child,” added Romo, as requested by the prime minister at the time.
In the pic above, Daily life in residential schools (photo published in Canadian Encyclopedia)