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Current Affairs

Canada’s indigenous children’s mass graves

Date: 03 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Excavation in a former residential school in Canada’s British Columbia has found remains of 215 young indigenous children.

 

Background

Canada has a multi-ethnic society that includes indigenous tribals. These groups were brought into mainstream after colonisation.

 

Details

  • The residential schools were set up by the government of Canada. It was given to the churches for running so that indigenous children can be assimilated into the society.

  • The schools played a major role in bridging the cultural differences between the indigenous people and European settlers.

 

Latest development

  • A ground penetrating radar had discovered remains of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential school in British Colombia. The mission was undertaken by the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation community.

  • Such discovery has prompted various organisations to demand for a mission to discover such mass graves of indigenous children.

  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada has termed such residential schools as a state sponsored attempt to conduct cultural genocide.

 

The Residential schools

  • The schools were set up by the government and run by church to educate and convert indigenous children into European way of life and give up their traditional culture.

  • Treaty-status children within the age group of 7 and 15 had to compulsory attend these schools under the Indian Act of 1920.

  • The TRC was set up to record human rights violation in these schools and also keep record on the suffering of the children. Majority of children joining the schools either ran away or died.

  • The schools were known to propagate low level of education that focused on practical skills. They were overcrowded and regimented.

 

Government stand

The government says that finding mass graves will be an important part of discovering the truth. The government has been accused of ignoring rights of indigenous community.