Want justice for Indigenous children? Then demand it

Governments will only do the right thing if we, as Canadians, demand it

Want justice for Indigenous children? Then demand itI try to be optimistic and embrace the truth that “the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.” When I examine how the Canadian government treats Indigenous children, however, it’s hard not to be cynical. I began teaching my Social Justice 12 unit on residential schools by watching Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology…

Burning churches, toppling statues won’t ease the pain

And may make the situation worse

Burning churches, toppling statues won’t ease the painIn July, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the arson and vandalism of Catholic churches across Canada in the wake of discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schools. After more than 1,100 unmarked graves were discovered at the sites of schools previously run by the Catholic Church in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, protests erupted. Statues…

If you voted for Trudeau and you’re angry about Tofino, you’re a hypocrite

Our surfer boy PM has been a national and international embarrassment since 2015

If you voted for Trudeau and you’re angry about Tofino, you’re a hypocriteWhen Justin Trudeau was first elected prime minister in 2015, there were political issues he said he wanted to tackle immediately. One of his earliest priorities was a desire to repair Canada's fractious relationship with the Indigenous community. "It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples," he told some Quebec-based First…

Only truth will put us on the path to reconciliation

We must educate the many Canadians who don’t know what happened to our Indigenous neighbours

Only truth will put us on the path to reconciliationI’ve been teaching high school students about Canada’s residential schools for a number of years. Indigenous content has recently been given a more prominent place in the British Columbia curriculum, and this has had an impact. Students now come to my class with some understanding of this tragic chapter in our history, and we’re able…

What can we expect from our leaders on Indigenous issues?

The parties' records over the last 13 years are revealing

What can we expect from our leaders on Indigenous issues?If Canadians are as concerned as they claim about the increasing number of unmarked graves found near former residential schools, the 2021 federal election will be pivotal. Each of the major political parties displays a clear track record exposing their views on Indigenous issues, domestically and abroad. The residential school apology on June 11, 2008,…

The questions left unasked about Indigenous deaths

Including: how was it possible for these deaths to occur without anyone noticing?

The questions left unasked about Indigenous deathsMelissa Mollen-Dupuis and I don’t know each other but we appear to share similar thoughts on the journalism around Kamloops, B.C. and the discovery of an unmarked grave containing remains of Indigenous children. In an interview with Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper recently, Mollen-Dupuis was sharply critical of media response to the shocking news that ground-penetrating…

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebook

Canada is facing a pivotal moment. We can choose to keep the truth buried or we can choose to heal

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebookCanada Day 2021 was like none other in our history. The unmarked gravesites of children who died at residential schools seemed to be on everyone’s mind. Efforts to “kill the Indian in the child” in residential schools did tremendous damage to our country. Today, Indigenous people are disproportionately represented in our prison system, their high…

It’s too easy to blame Christianity for residential school deaths

Just like any human institution, religions are in a constant state of evolution. Just like any human, religious leaders make mistakes

It’s too easy to blame Christianity for residential school deathsArticle 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship…

Finding a new path forward driven by Indigenous people

The graves of residential school children symbolize the abject failure of decades of government policy

Finding a new path forward driven by Indigenous peoplePeople are mad. Finally! And sadly, belatedly. The discovery of the locations where hundreds of children were buried around abandoned residential school grounds has touched the country in ways that perhaps even the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not. People are responding to…

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliation

Vacuous electoral promises and virtue-signalling schemes won’t deliver the outcomes Indigenous Canadians need

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliationCanada has consistently failed to make progress commensurate with the many lofty pronouncements and expectations on the Indigenous file. It’s a national shame that most Indigenous Canadians on reservations live far below acceptable socio-economic standards. Money isn’t the problem. By 2022, the federal budget allocations to Indigenous will have doubled since 2016 to nearly $25…

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the past

The dead should be appropriately honoured. But some opportunists will exploit these dead children for financial and political gain

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the pastThe discovery of human remains at a former residential school site has set off a firestorm that has already resulted in demands for another national inquiry and massively expensive forensic and excavation projects. But maybe we should pause and ask some questions. The Kamloops Indian Residential School operated as a residential school from 1890 to…

We must discover the truth, no matter how horrible

We must find out the truth about residential schools if we are to heal from the wounds caused by our cruelty

We must discover the truth, no matter how horribleThe recent discovery of the bodies of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School is tragic but not at all surprising. In 1907, federal medical inspector Dr. Peter Bryce provided a report to the Department of Indian Affairs regarding the horrendous health conditions at residential schools across Canada. Those conditions resulted in up to…

Researcher reveals history of assimilative tactics on Blood Reserve

Hopes her work will help intergenerational survivors

Researcher reveals history of assimilative tactics on Blood ReserveThe residential school system is the focal point of truth and reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples in Canada. But a University of Alberta education researcher says the schools, which operated in Canada until 1996, aren’t the whole story. Dr. Tiffany Prete, an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, has been conducting research…

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own peril

Confronting the horrors of our past and trying to make things right isn’t an easy task but a peace comes from doing the right thing

We minimize, revise and ignore history at our own perilIt seems that everywhere we turn we find a new scandal, some memory from the past that haunts us. Though virtually every state and institution has something to hide, there’s something liberating in speaking the truth. While his tenure hasn’t been without controversy, many around the world have been relieved to see the openness and…

Criticizing Macdonald is fair game but leave statues alone

Criticizing Macdonald is fair game but leave statues aloneSince the brutal killing of George Floyd in May, left-wing radicals have been vandalizing and destroying historical buildings, landmarks and statues around the world. U.S. presidents (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant), and Confederate soldiers and leaders (Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Charles Linn and J.E.B. Stuart) were targeted. Statues of…
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