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215 graves at Kamloops residential school | Discussion, news, and what we know so far


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#21 Rob Randall

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 05:49 PM

(Annett is also the man behind unproven claims that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip took 10 children from the Kamloops Indian Residential School on a picnic in September 1964 and that the children were never seen again.

 

 

Holy crap; well, OK then. I may be adjusting my opinion on this, especially since there may have been a burial ground around there. Damn, I don't know.

 

but when we read a headline about "6,000 kids died in residential schools" it's never placed in context of how many school-aged kids died in general in the same region or in the same part of Canada over the same period.*

 

and now even today indigenous persons in Canada have a life expectancy almost 10 years less than the Canadian population as a whole.

 

Several things here. Yes, kids died more often back then. Kids that died under the care of the church/government in these residential schools fell into three categories from least likely to most likely: straight up murder, death due to neglect and unavoidable death (accidents, fatal illness). We have confirmed knowledge of kids that were beaten for trivial reasons, some may have died from that.

 

Archaeology will shed light really quick. If the first skeleton uncovered is an adult buried before 1920 all bets are off.


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#22 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 05:16 AM

you are probably right but not sure about the order of significance you have suggested.

as you are aware it’s completely forbidden in this country to even express an opinion that a single thing that went on in residential schools was positive. that’s been set by our government leaders. so it’s hard to see how “truth and reconciliation” can ever contain truth.

#23 Rob Randall

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 05:44 AM

^Obviously every human experience contains a spectrum of joy and pain, You see, it's human nature to find ways to cope in the most difficult circumstances. Even the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps organized musical performances, plays, religious ceremonies and marriages.

 

But the entire system was corrupt top to bottom and was designed to permanently snuff out a culture. It's impossible to put any sort of positive spin on that without looking like a racist apologist.


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#24 Rob Randall

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 05:52 AM

The Church and Government saw these semi-nomadic, pagan people and realized they were obligated to settle them, Christianize them and impose a traditional Western family culture (mom, dad and the kids) on them. The only way to achieve this they thought was to permanently exterminate their culture and traditions through forced assimilation and the quickest method was to forcibly detain children on the slightest pretense as they are the most malleable.


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#25 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 06:06 AM

you make great points here.

having said all that, only 150,000 students ever attended these schools. perhaps less than 33% of native youngsters. nowhere near the majority.

did native culture survive or die (anyway)? it’s hard to say if these schools had any effect broadly on the culture.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 31 May 2021 - 06:06 AM.


#26 max.bravo

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 07:15 AM

 it’s hard to say if these schools had any effect broadly on the culture.

 

Not hard to say at all. Apart from the intended consequence of ensuring language, religion, and traditions couldn't be transmitted from parent to child, they also disrupted families and introduced all kind of abuse, neglect, trauma, and distrust of authority across multiple generations. I'm guessing you don't know any FN people well enough to have heard personal stories. Every single FN I know has been personally affected by residential schools in a significant negative way. It's only "hard to say" if you're willfully ignorant.


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#27 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 07:27 AM

Not hard to say at all. Apart from the intended consequence of ensuring language, religion, and traditions couldn't be transmitted from parent to child, they also disrupted families and introduced all kind of abuse, neglect, trauma, and distrust of authority across multiple generations. I'm guessing you don't know any FN people well enough to have heard personal stories. Every single FN I know has been personally affected by residential schools in a significant negative way. It's only "hard to say" if you're willfully ignorant.

 

in areas where the schools did not operate (~65% of the country) is the indigenous population better off now?

 

are families that had no contact with the system better off now?

 

families that emigrated here after WW2 or Cambodia and Vietnam wars/revolution ("boat people") had their culture stripped.  why have they on the whole succeeded much better than indigenous populations?

 

i think residential schools are often used as a scapegoat for much larger problems.  not a popular opinion and certainly not politically correct.  but there it is.


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 31 May 2021 - 07:28 AM.


#28 max.bravo

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 07:33 AM

in areas where the schools did not operate (~65% of the country) is the indigenous population better off now?

 

are families that had no contact with the system better off now?

 

families that emigrated here after WW2 or Cambodia and Vietnam wars/revolution ("boat people") had their culture stripped.  why have they on the whole succeeded much better than indigenous populations?

 

i think residential schools are often used as a scapegoat for much larger problems.  not a popular opinion and certainly not politically correct.  but there it is.

Find an indigenous family that had no contact with the system first. you won't.


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#29 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 07:39 AM

Find an indigenous family that had no contact with the system first. you won't.

 

how many generations will this knock-on effect have?  it's 2021.



#30 sukika

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 07:59 AM

families that emigrated here after WW2 or Cambodia and Vietnam wars/revolution ("boat people") had their culture stripped. why have they on the whole succeeded much better than indigenous populations

 

What? I was not forcibly removed from my parents, or forbidden to speak my language or acknowledge my heritage and culture.  You're comparing apples to oranges. 


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#31 amor de cosmos

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 08:03 AM

more
 

Linc Kesler, director of the University of British Columbia's First Nations House of Learning, said it's only a matter of time before the same type of technology used by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation reveals more physical evidence of the horrors of residential schools across Canada. 
 
"It's absolutely not an isolated incident," Kesler said. 
 
On Thursday, the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said preliminary findings from a ground-penetrating radar survey uncovered the remains.

https://www.cbc.ca/n...-warn-1.6046394

Nanaimo shares sorrow after 215 residential school victims found in Kamloops
Vigil was held Sunday, May 30, at Maffeo Sutton Park
https://www.nanaimob...nd-in-kamloops/
 

Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation has said the discovery in Kamloops was confirmed with the help of ground-penetrating radar and that more bodies may be found because the entire school grounds have not yet been searched.
 
Eric Simons, a PhD student in anthropology at the University of British Columbia, said the radar would have identified 215 grave shafts, not actual bodies, as well as changes in the soil, with some of it being more compressed.
 
Simons said he's been working with a First Nation at the site of a residential school on Penelakut Island where children's remains are believed to have been buried between 1890 and 1975, when the facility was closed.
 
Much more work is left to be done at the site on one of the Gulf Islands in B.C., he said of the island previously known as Kuper Island, before it was renamed about a decade ago in honour of the Penelakut First Nation.
 
It's hard to say what next steps will be taken to try and identify remains at the former residential school in Kamloops, and each First Nation would decide on how to deal with the burial site depending on their cultural protocols, Simon said.

https://www.timescol...very-1.24324846

Island flags being lowered to honour dead children found at former Kamloops residential school
https://www.timescol...hool-1.24324813

#32 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 08:04 AM

What? I was not forcibly removed from my parents, or forbidden to speak my language or acknowledge my heritage and culture.  You're comparing apples to oranges. 

 

you weren't.  but many of those refugees i speak of had entire portions of their families wiped out.  killed.  what's worse?

 

.  



#33 max.bravo

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 08:18 AM

you weren't.  but many of those refugees i speak of had entire portions of their families wiped out.  killed.  what's worse?

 

.  

you're better than whataboutism, c'mon man.


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#34 spanky123

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 08:22 AM

^ There is no doubt that this is a tragic story and unfortunate that children were placed in un-marked graves and their parents never notified. 

 

Like most things these days though, we completely ignore the historical context of what was happening. At the turn of the 19th century in Canada, between 1/3 and 1/2 of all children died before they reached 5. https://opentextbc.c...footnote-6645-2. Antibiotics hadn't been invented and there wasn't universal health care.

 

In context then it is not unusual at all to expect that some children died at residential schools. 


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#35 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 08:26 AM

you're better than whataboutism, c'mon man.

 

it's pretty hard to find comparables in canada, that's all.

 

here is one.   nunavut is an inuit-majority region, rather than a native reserve.  average salary $125,000. 

 

is that a better system than native reserves?  perhaps reserves are the source of our ongoing issues with native poverty and poor wellness and outcomes for youth (that are at least 2-3 generations removed from the schools).  not the residential schools.


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 31 May 2021 - 08:27 AM.


#36 Rob Randall

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 08:45 AM

^We've already established more kids died back then. Are you saying residential school children got equal or better health care than white children and that death rates are similar? Of course not, so why waste energy typing it?


Edited by Rob Randall, 31 May 2021 - 08:45 AM.

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#37 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 08:47 AM

healthcare was rudimentary for both. if you got a childhood illness you were normally toast either way.

#38 Mike K.

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 08:51 AM

My twin aunt and uncle died as blue babies in the 1950s. Another uncle died in a farming accident in Alberta in the 70s. He was in his early teens. Life was certainly harder then, and gets easier with every passing decade as healthcare and safety awareness improve.

None of that excuses some of the madness of the residential school experiment.

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#39 sukika

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 09:02 AM

you weren't.  but many of those refugees i speak of had entire portions of their families wiped out.  killed.  what's worse?

 

It's not a competition, and it's not ok to disregard what someone or another group of people might be going through just because you think someone else may have had it worse.


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#40 Rob Randall

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Posted 31 May 2021 - 09:03 AM

The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission has records of at least 51 children dying at the school between 1915 and 1963. But it's not clear whether all 51 were also buried there or if people who died away from the school were buried on the property. Was it an old burial ground? Was it the graveyard for the poverty-stricken who died in the Kamloops region? Indigenous adults worked at the school, are they buried there? Too many unanswered questions.

 

They're going to have to do a full investigation and excavation like in former Yugoslavia.

 

I do think the media should be saying "evidence of child graves", not just "child graves found" until forensics can confirm they are actual child graves and not just diminutive adults or adult graves that have shifted and moved over the decades.


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