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July 01, 2021


Individually as members of a diverse community working together for change.

As a M├ętis wrote, "You are culpable. And so am I."


Based on a series of private conversations I have witnessed over decades, various bands knew precisely about the deaths: where, when and who. (Would not you know which of your small community's children were taken and of those, the ones about whom you received vague and unverifiable information?) I am enraged about how long it took those institutions to release records. I believe the last two cases will forever change the relationship between those churches and indigenous people.

But it is important that that this news has been made public. However horrible. In the light of this we may cast our minds back and realise that the greater tragedy would have been if the children's fate had remained unrevealed, that they had continued to be beyond sympathy and mourning.

@ Roderick Robinson: The matter was public for years, documented in a 2015 report by the federal government's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, titled "Canada's Residential Schools: Unmarked Graves and Missing Children". The grave sites are in the report. We knew they existed but did not want to face it. Apologies offered by the government and the institutions after the 2015 report are widely judged inadequate.

The great majority of the children were not, as some people think, murdered. They died from the same natural causes (TB, flu) that other children of the era did, but at a much higher rate, due to poor medical treatment and the living conditions at the schools, caused by their wish to keep operating costs low. This focus on cost was also why the bodies were not shipped home.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.