Alderville First Nation Chief Dave Mowat – In Honour of the Lost Children of Tk’emlups te Secwepmc

In Editor Choice, Local, National

As we learned through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, the Residential School system in Canada was one in which physical, sexual, mental and emotional abuse were used to “beat the Indian out of the child.”

The Schools became law and these abuses in the church run schools were shielded by that law, by Canadian law.

As we learned again on Friday May 28, 2021, with the report of the discovery of 215 children buried in unmarked graves at the site of the Kamloops Industrial School in British Columbia, later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School, we are appalled at this level of sadness and disrespect inflicted upon these children.

All Canadians should be appalled!

That the governments and its churches (in this case the Catholic Church) of this nation could justify such disrespect and abuse against young Indigenous children.

That without the love of their mothers and fathers, extended families, and communities, they would die so young and be buried in lonely, unmarked graves.

From Los Angeles, to Washington, to London, to China and all through Canada this story has been picked up and shared countlessly, on the unaccounted-for deaths of the young Indigenous children of this school, not to mention at the many other like schools across Canada.

As Tk’emlups te Secwepmc First Nation (Kamloops) Chief Roseanne Casimir said it is “an unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented…To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths.”

And so it continues, the compounded pain, death, and evidence to show how abusive a young Canada could be to get rid of its “Indian problem.”

That these schools continued so long into the 20th century is an expression of how much Canada had lost its way in the criminal assimilation efforts set down by it and the churches.

That Canada knew of the unfit and unhealthy conditions of these schools and the high rates of death was a known fact by 1910!

But it did nothing, because as Duncan Campbell Scott (Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs) said the policy of the schools was “geared towards the final solution of our Indian Problem.”

Alderville First Nation extends its heartfelt condolences and prayers to the Tk’emlups te Secwepmc First Nation as it deals with this profoundly disturbing discovery and loss.

As the site of one of the early pre-Confederation “Indian Industrial Schools” in Canada, Alderville First Nation knows all too well the extent to which the Colonies and later the Dominion would go to make our children “emphatically new creatures” through church run/state sponsored assimilation programs.

That our people and the Indigenous people across Canada survived to slowly and gradually use the same rule of law to show the world what this sad chapter in Canadian history entails is a testament to continued Indigenous strength and resilience.

Chief Dave Mowat Alderville First Nation, ON May 30, 2021

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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