Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Thursday, June 10, 2021

A Wound In The Heart

Today I make use of this blog for photography, and a more somber tone than is usually the case here. Flags at half mast: a sign of mourning and commemoration. This was taken yesterday outside one of the federal office buildings downtown in Ottawa.

 Several days ago it came out in the media. 215 bodies found: children. Buried at the site of a former residential school at Kamloops, B.C.. The residential school system is a dark stain on Canadian history: the taking of generations of indigenous children by the government and put into schools run by the churches. It is a legacy we are still dealing with today, as the last of those schools closed in living memory. Indigenous people and communities still deal with the fallout of trauma, abuse, and neglect. All in a program meant to "get the Indian out of them."

215 innocent children. Taken from families, from what they knew and loved, never to return. It is heartbreaking and infuriating and... the worst part is  that you just know there are more bodies out there. Buried in ummarked graves far from their homes and families. Victims  of a system that strove to stamp out who they are.

Other bloggers have already addressed this. I wasn't sure if I could. I know I don't have the eloquence for it. To call it a tragedy isn't sufficient. Nor are apologies sufficient. Speaking for myself, I  feel ashamed of my country.

So what's to be done? First, those children need to be returned to their homelands to rest among their people. Then every other residential school must be examined. Because there are more graves out there. And those children must be sent home. After that? There were people who knew. And didn't care. People still alive. They must be held to account. This is a terrible wrong that must be made right.

Flags have been at half last for days: one hour for each of these 215. And on Parliament Hill, around and beyond the Centennial Flame, is a growing commemoration. Messages, photos, indigenous items... and toys.... and children's  shoes. I leave the images to say the rest.