It’s the shameful story of atrociously racist ignominy made in Canada. These so-called residential schools in which 150,000 Aboriginal, Métis and Inuit children and adolescents languished in isolation and the worst deprivation.
The majority of “boarding schools” operated under the boot of the Catholic clergy. From the 1870s, they will multiply across the country. The very last one will not close its doors until 1996.
With the approval of governments, these boys and girls were torn from their families. Rushed into these “boarding schools” of hell to “kill the Indian in the child”.
Their cassock executioners forbade them to speak their language and to see their parents. They starved them. They locked them in unsanitary and uninsulated dormitories. They denied them all medical care.
They beat them, humiliated them, raped them. More than 3000 of these martyred children died from it. Tuberculosis, undernutrition, drowning, repetitive physical and sexual abuse, etc. Like common waste, they were buried in mass graves.
The survivors came out with serious physical and psychological consequences. Several have committed suicide. The last episode of this national disgrace is the perfect reflection of this.
In British Columbia, in a mass grave near a former Catholic “boarding school” in Kamloops, the “remains” of 215 children of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation were found.
Saying that they are deeply shocked, Justin Trudeau and his provincial counterparts have ordered their respective flags to be lowered. Many Canadians show their solidarity with various ceremonies.
Within the aboriginal nations, justice is demanded. Once again. Let these tortured children be identified. That we finally repatriate them to their families.
Impossible here to go around the brutal story of these abject “boarding schools”. Nor of the racist and sadistic ferocity of the modus operandi of all these priests and their superiors. However, let’s dive into the heart of this filthy story.
Complicit in their centuries-old racism against the Natives – first of all enshrined in the ignoble federal law on Indians of 1876 – the political and ecclesiastical authorities dehumanized them from the cradle to their tombs, hidden and anonymous.
Racism and sadism
Those who were once called the “savages” were the countless victims. Like what the real savagery, not to say barbarism, was that of our political and ecclesiastical authorities, fundamentally racist.
These horrors made in Canada are however rarely taught in our schools. As if we had to, once the headlines remind us of it from time to time, hurry to forget it. No. It’s not us! Not in “the best country in the world” …
Well yes. It happened here. In almost all provinces. With the imprimatur of the clergy, federal money and the indifference of the population.
Beyond apologies, flags at half mast and certain past compensations, what can be done to repair such an abomination? If it is possible that a repair is even possible.
Maybe start by listening to these hard-hit families and communities. In schools, better teach the dark periods of our history. Identify the real culprits. Demonstrate mobilizing anger.
To look to the future, together, we need to know the past. This is a sine qua non.