Residential schools: when racism kills

Residential schools: when racism kills
Residential schools: when racism kills

The facts are known. Reality ignored for too long.

The discovery of the remains of 215 children at Kamloops Indian Residential School brings us face to face with the unspeakable.

In these boarding schools where it was claimed to “kill the Indian in the heart of the child”, it is children who have been killed by racism.

So far, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had recorded the death of 3,201 children. How many others have succumbed to malnutrition, disease, abuse? It will be necessary to dare to carry out excavations on the outskirts of the other residential schools.

They were certainly less numerous in Quebec than elsewhere in the country, but the consequences are the same, the bereavements, the heartbreaks, the poor care too.

Worse, the colonial cycle continues today.

Sad record

In 2021, white host families and youth centers have certainly replaced boarding schools.

But for the children of the DPJ, it is the same uprooting, the same loss of landmarks in a foreign culture that is perpetuated. Care is still not adequate.

It is not for nothing that in 2001, Quebec adopted a law to allow Native communities to take charge of the protection of their children.

And yet, they are still 6 times more likely to be taken to court, placed 7 times more often in foster care. Yes, there is poverty, addictions. But ignorance and condescension sadly persist within the DPJ.

This observation is not mine, but that of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, then the Viens and Laurent commissions.

So, well done, putting the flags at half mast in the National Assembly in memory of these children of Kamloops!

But please, let us quickly implement the reforms that three commissions of inquiry formulated so that one day, Indigenous children can finally hope for the kindness and dignity they deserve.

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