Have Your Say:
Residential schools and genocide
Interpol should investigate all residential school properties and records
June 25, 2021
On June 24th, we celebrated la Fête de la Saint-Jean Baptiste in Québec. It is an occasion of joy, of sharing and pride in our heritage, one of the founding cultures that make up this country.
Today, however, is a time of shame, as the discovery of yet another 751 unmarked graves near a residential school in Saskatchewan is made public. This, only months after 215 graves were discovered in a British Columbia residential school located in Kamloops.
Interpol and their mandate
The time for apologies and in-house investigations is over. The only just course in the offing is to invite Interpol to investigate all residential school properties and records. This international police body can gather the evidence, establish the facts, and transfer their findings to the World Court in The Hague. Under point four of the functions of Interpol it is stated that Interpol is committed to the reduction of organized crime, criminal networks and the destruction of illegal markets as well as the protection of weaker communities. Since there exists an atmosphere of mistrust between Natives and Canadian police, often resulting in confrontation and death, it is imperative that an independent third faction be introduced to oversee this investigation. It is not only important for justice to be done, but equally important for it to be seen to be done, in all eyes.
International Court in The Hague
The Court can then review the evidence objectively, based on human rights and international precedents. This will give us access to the truth and allow those long-suffering to begin the healing process. To continue as we have is to make a mockery of justice and undermine everything human rights and this country stand for.
Responsibility and accountability
The verdict on responsibility and judgement of accountability in the case of residential schools far exceeds the office of His Holiness, the Pope, and Canadian authorities – it is that of the International Court alone.
My two cents,
Georges R. Dupras
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Georges Dupras makes important points. We must recognize human rights abuses and forms of genocide no matter where they occur – even in our own country. Sometimes I feel that we Canadians have a certain smugness and sense of superiority in these matters. We are not the enlightened ones we seem to think we are. Not even close.
Even with the mentality of those days when Indians were considered second class citizens, the clergy in charge of those schools forgot the Our Father DO UNTO OTHERS… The state did the same much to our present point of view. The problem of aboriginal issues was not only of Canada but that of other countries. Collectivity as a world population we should resolve this matter but evil still reigns as world news tells us. When are governments going to embrace peace instead of control in the matter of money and power? Roger Nincheri
This statement from Georges Dupras says it all: “The verdict on responsibility and judgement of accountability in the case of residential schools far exceeds the office of His Holiness, the Pope, and Canadian authorities – it is that of the International Court alone.”
We cannot put our faith and hope for justice in the Catholic Church or the Canadian government at this tragic time. Neither are capable of righting the wrongs committed against some of the most vulnerable members of our society – innocent children and the families who have loved them and have suffered greatly as a result of these immeasurable losses. As the world looks on and condemns the atrocities that have occurred in Canada, may international authorities help with the healing process by launching a complete investigation of the crimes committed.
I believe Georges Dupras is correct in his assessment of the situation. There is a great deal
of truth yet to be revealed, none of it will be welcomed by the Canadian Govt. nor the Catholic
Church. The arrogance of the Christian Church fathers aided and abetted by the Govt. has
brought us to this place. I deeply hope the outcome will finally result in respect for First Nations
people; it is indigenous peoples who realize the importance of preserving the environment for
future generations! We have a lot to learn from them.
I agree that what was done to the Indigenous people was criminal. We owe them the respect they deserve by treating the atrocities done as crimes under the law.
Ok…first, it wasn’t just the Catholic church…the other denominations are culpable also. And second, neither the Canadian nor the provincial governments will allow Interpol or any other international organization to be involved in this crime.
You bring up two points that are moot at best. In 1834, the Anglican Church ran the Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Upper Canada. It was the first in our residential school system. In 1876, amendments to the Indian Act provided for the creation of residential schools, funded and operated by the Government of Canada, the Roman Catholic Church. Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterian and United Churches. As the years went by, other amendments were made in 1896, 1907, 1920 and 1922. Spreading the blame doesn’t lessen it – it’s simply childish.
There are more than enough reasons to mention the Catholic Church given the findings in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, and recent comments made by a now dismissed Catholic bishop on the issue. As of June 23, 2021, the number of bodies located includes 1,323* with more to come. These numbers alone constitute a Genocide.
As for your comment that the Government of Canada would never allow a foreign agency to investigate, I would remind you that we are members of Interpol and, this investigation crosses international borders (may not be a question of choice). True and impartial justice dictates that no persons or factions of interest can investigate themselves. Our history with First Nations is such that they would never accept any investigation by the very factions involved in residential schooling. At the very least, we owe our Native communities the right to an objective investigation. Enough with the talk, the excuses, the finger-pointing, the apologies and senseless Royal Commissions. Let’s get on with it.
* 215 – Kamloops, BC
104 – Brandon, Manitoba
38 – Regina, Saskatchewan
751 – Cowessess, SK
35 – Lestock, SK
180- Carlisle, PA
At first I was shocked by the idea of inviting Interpol but the longer I ponder the idea, the more logical it seems. Authorities cannot be expected to investigate themselves, self interest overides ethics every time as has been witnesssed across the country in the police, the armed forces, the RCMP, the provincial and federal governments.
While I do not expect to see such an investigation, I do hope that these latest tragic reports of our continued inhumanity (even today) will encourage many more Canadians to replace the pointed finger of criticism with a helping hand of moral and financial support to our native brothers and sisters.