Independent Tribunal Established to Investigate Mass Grave Sites
For a century, the Canadian Government with the assistance of major Canadian churches kidnapped thousands of aboriginal kids and locked them up in residential schools where they could be “civilized.” Far from their families and communities, young and defenseless, they were beaten for speaking their languages. Many were sexually abused.
Fast forward to the 21 century. After much foot dragging, hand-wringing and stonewalling, some of the perpetrators have said they are sorry (still awaiting an apology from the Feds). Financial compensation has been paid. End of story, right?
Wrong. On April 10, in Vancouver, an organization called the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) released a list of twenty eight mass graves across Canada that they believe contain the remains of hundreds and perhaps thousands of aboriginal children who died in these schools.
According to the FRD:
The list was distributed today to the world media and to United Nations agencies, as the first act of the newly-formed International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), a non-governmental body established by indigenous elders.
In a statement read by FRD spokesperson Eagle Strong Voice, it was declared that the IHRTGC would commence its investigations on April 15, 2008, the fourth Annual Aboriginal Holocaust Memorial Day. This inquiry will involve international human rights observers from Guatemala and Cyprus, and will convene aboriginal courts of justice where those persons and institutions responsible for the death and suffering of residential school children will be tried and sentenced. . . .
Eagle Strong Voice and IHRTGC elders will present the Mass Graves List at the United Nations on April 19, and will ask United Nations agencies to protect and monitor the mass graves as part of a genuine inquiry and judicial prosecution of those responsible for this Canadian Genocide.
Indian Residential School, Camperville – constructed 1894-1897. Destroyed by man, February-March 1972. Local residents in foreground. Source: Manitoba Historical Society.
Where is the media?
I heard about this only today when a friend sent me a copy of the FRD news release. Wanting more information, I consulted Google News. I got two hits, neither of them widely distributed. I tried the CBC web site. Nada. Same story at CTV and Canada.com.
The story is getting wide distribution among bloggers. Maybe the mainstream media will wake up when Eagle Strong Voice presents the list to the United Nations. Maybe.
In the same way that the parties to the Indian Residential School system buried the hopes and the bodies of aboriginal kids, it seems that Canada’s mass media plans to bury their story.