Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller – “This is our undeniable reality in Canada”

“Today is a sombre day in memory of those that did not come home from residential school,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh. “But it also serves as a moment of reflection for all of us. Many are on the path of healing from their experiences and many of the things each and every one of us do every day is a way of honouring this legacy and this journey

OTTAWA – Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller took to Twitter sharing a commentary on the continued discoveries of unmarked graves at the sites of former Indian Residential Schools.

“The same week as Williams Lake First Nation announced the discovery of 93 potential unmarked graves at the site of the St Joseph’s Mission School, a number of articles have been circulating questioning the nature and validity of these and other recovery efforts.

“These articles are part of a pattern of denialism and distortion that has coloured the discourse on Residential Schools in Canada. They are harmful because they attempt to deny survivors and their families the truth, and they distort Canadians’ understanding of our history.

“The ghoulish demand to see corpses—one article is unashamedly titled “In Kamloops, not one body has been found”–is not only highly distasteful but also re-traumatizing for survivors and their families.

“It deliberately ignores the comprehensive work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and its calls to actions while also ignoring the deliberate and painstaking work that many Indigenous communities are undertaking in their continued search for truth, healing and closure.

“It is crucial to highlight that the impact of Residential Schools on survivors, their families and communities, especially the fate of missing children, continues to have devastating consequences to this day. We cannot and must not ignore this reality.

“Further, any author who glances over or ignores the testimony of survivors commits a basic error of scientific enquiry.

“Indeed, as early as 1909 (1909!!!), Dr. Peter Bryce estimated that the death rate from all causes for those attending residential schools was 18 times higher than that of non-Indigenous people in Canada of the same age.

“He noted that in some schools not a single child had a normal temperature. The impact of disease is not only measured in death but in those that survived and suffered from chronic illnesses as a result.

“Overcrowding, unsanitary living conditions and starvation clearly fueled this reality. And that’s without mentioning the well documented abuse and other heinous crimes committed at these institutions.

“This is our undeniable reality in Canada.

“It must be taken into account when supporting Indigenous communities in their search for answers about the children who never returned home.

“When someone argues that a number of the sites in question are merely “old cemeteries” it not only overlooks the painstaking work communities have done to distinguish cemetery sites from potential graves located outside cemeteries, but importantly disregards the neglectful and careless burial policies in place at individual Residential Schools, their state of disrepair since closing, as well negligent policies in effect at the then Department of Indian Affairs. Not to mention the fact that it is not a normal practice to have cemeteries at schools.

“The search for truth, as painful as it is, is multi-dimensional and complex.

“The choice of a community, and it must be their choice, to exhume and perform more intrusive forensic activities will most certainly be a difficult one.

“Communities that choose this path will need support to ensure these efforts respect strict trauma informed and survivor focused protocols.

“As the results of these investigations are released, they will continue to shock the conscience of Canadians.

“We will become more aware of the truth that Indigenous Peoples have long known which will in turn allow us to better understand our history and the ongoing effects it has in this country.

“Obfuscating or denying history won’t change it but it will further amplify the pain felt by Indigenous communities across Canada”.

Previous articleAwkward moment mars announcement
Next articleFormulaTV Owner David Kezerashvili Says Free Speech Cannot Be Suppressed or NNL offers news, information, opinions and positive ideas for Thunder Bay, Ontario, Northwestern Ontario and the world. NNL covers a large region of Ontario, but we are also widely read around the country and the world. To reach us by email: Reach the Newsroom: (807) 355-1862