Two hundred and fifteen remains of children have been located in unmarked burial sites at the Kamloops Indian Residential School (Roman Catholic Church administered) in British Columbia province, which was closed in 1977. There were 139 of these Government schools identified of which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report said were established “primarily to break their link (the native children) to their culture and identity”. Estimates of unreported deaths of indigenous children at all residential schools is believed to be as high as 6,000. There is a registry of listed deaths at the University of Manitoba and was created and is maintained by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). An example of structural racism. A road full of tears and cries unspeakable!
Who were they and who were their parents and where did they come from; what were their ages; why did they die?
It is shocking to know or not know who buried these children and who made the decision to dispose of them in an unmarked and unknown graves. It is even more shocking to learn that the last of these schools were closed in the 1990s and that recommended actions to tell the truth about these institutions have been documented and agreed to but not acted on for a long time already. Maybe the ‘don’t talk about it’ would make it go away? Or too many people have a guilty conscience? (the teachers, principals, administrators, church officials and government officers)
This is just part of our past here in Canada but what about the rest of the world. Just now the USA remembers with reluctance, the 1921 Tulsa Black Wall Massacre, incited by city officials and the white community; where 35 blocks of Black neighbourhoods were destroyed and up to 300 people died, hundreds were injured and over 10,000 people lost their homes. A race riot. Again a place of unmarked mass graves.
What about other events going back in the recorded history of the world. To name a few unknowns: The massacre of people in the Congo by the King of Belgium (King Leopold the ll) forcing the local natives into slave labour (with punshment) for the harvesting of natural rubber. (think Dunlop tires) Prompting a Belgian expression of regret to the Congo government in 2020. What about the genocidal events perpetrated on the Herero and Namaqua tribes in Namibia by German colonization. Estimates are that 100,000 Namibians (reports from Missionaries) were killed as they revolted again the colonizers taking over their land. (in recent news of May 2021 the German government agreed to pay 1.1 billion Euros over 30 years – a mere pittance!)
Thinking about all of this will take us back to the Slave trade of the 1600s where the Dutch and English traders, owners and sailors (upstanding people in their home communities) of the ships that were used to transport captive native tribes people (many sold by their own people) from Africa to North America. And what about the whole aspect of colonization. So many sharp edges on the getting of wealth and man’s unbridled thirst for more and more.
The Charter Rights of the explorers as they ‘discovered’ new lands in their journeys of discovery? Claiming possession and jurisdiction to new found lands and continents with the Pope’s blessing. As a 12 year old Aboriginal boy from Australia has said: ‘What did they (white explorers) think happened; we have always been here. This is our land, our home.’
How many of these domination actions can you name? I have listed a few. Think not just of racism against the African people but count the atrocities of wars; against Jews, Christians, Natives, black, yellow or white, religious and patriotic and all for the glory of god and the Emperors.
A stream of never ending assaults! Unbelievable! Unbearable! Unrepayable! Embarrassing, cruel and wrong!
All of us, even the ‘unreligious or un-spiritualistic’ person will find within their ‘souls’ the inkling bothersome conscious awareness that all of this is not right, not the way it should be. Not following the ‘golden rule’.
Why do we have this notion of feeling that the earthly human bus, full of ‘souls’ has left the road and is in the ditch? Do we have the ‘towing’ capacity to put it back where it should be, on the road?
The biblical command: Love God and your neighbour as yourself or the words of an old African-American man: ‘Love God and be kind to your neighbour!’ Sums it all up. How easy and how difficult!
Book of Proverbs 3: 9 – Make no plans that could result in injury to your neighbour; after all, he should be more secure because he lives near you. translation: the Voice
May you be blessed with: ‘Sterkte’
JS June 2, 2021
Related song: The prayer of the children by Kurt Bestor