These schools were run by the Catholic Church and their aim as stated by Bishop Vital Grandin, in 1875, was " we instill in them the profound distaste for their native life, so that they will be humiliated when reminded of their origin. When they graduate from our institutions, the children have lost everything native, except their blood"
Children as young as three were snatched from parents and community and had " the Indian beaten out of them", never to return, never to see loved ones again, beaten, humiliated, sexually assaulted, starved and then dumped into unmarked graves in about 130 sites around the country.
This national shame/disgrace was started by the Indian Act and lasted until 1996, when the last " institution" was finally closed.
This is genocide.
The Brits had used blankets soaked in small pox and handed out and now after the Canadian federation was created, in 1867, the policy " eradication" was continued by the government of John A. Mac Donald.
It is estimated that over 6,000 children perished, 6,000 families denied and Indigenous communities across the country were devastated.
Every government from 1867 to 1996, was involved. All are quilty of this abhorrent policy.
There have been much hand-wringing as more and more ghastly details come to light. There has been the usual "apology". There have bee some enquiry and recommendations, but they all ended up collecting dusts and nothing is/was done.
Trudeau is " appalled" and flags are to be flown at half-masts, and gestures, such as a debate in the Commons, but then all is forgotten.
Not this time
There must be a full reckoning and it must begin with action.
Tear down the statues of MacDonald, Ryerson et al and replace them with Indigenous symbols and statements of full responsibility for these nefarious acts.
Scan all the 130 or so sites with ground radar.
Expose the full horror.
Stop the underfunding for health, education and social services.
Build water lines to all communities so that there will be drinkable water.
Clean the various contaminated sites .
Once and for all accept responsibility for what was wreaked upon the children and their families.
No more symbolic apologies or other face saving gestures
Let the Truth be seen and told.