Submitted by Standing Together Against Racism
We continue to learn of unmarked grave sites on the grounds of Canadian residential schools. The legacy of these schools is a heartbreaking and barbaric physical manifestation of the racism, suspicion, and fear that the white settlers harboured against the Indigenous peoples of this land. These schools were used by the Government of Canada to perpetrate cultural genocide.
Although the discovery of the unmarked graves comes as a shock to many, Indigenous communities in Canada have been dealing with the loss of their children since the schools began. They have never stopped sounding the alarm bells and both the government and the non-Indigenous citizens of this land have not been listening.
It is time to stand up for our fellow citizens and demand equal treatment under the law, clean drinking water and access to sanitation systems in all communities, access to mental health support, and equal access to education.
We ask that the Government of Ontario, the Catholic Church, United Church, Presbyterian Church, Anglican Church, and Mennonite Community take responsibility for their roles in the Ontario residential schools. We also urge them to release the records from the residential schools so that remains can be properly identified and ultimately returned home.
The lowering of flags to half mast, and other symbolic acts, are appropriate but do not contribute to healing wounds. Real action on the part of government at all levels, including our municipal government, should begin by implementing the full recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
We must stop dragging our feet on this. This isn’t ancient history. Survivors walk with us today and these children should have been elders in their communities. Generations of Indigenous families have been affected by this.
We must continue to acknowledge Canada’s colonial, genocidal history, and work toward reconciliation/healing now.
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