The biggest news headline coming out of Canada the last few days has been the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. These were children who were taken away from their families and their communities and abused as part of a program that was run by the Canadian government and church groups that forced them to assimilate to whiteness. Indigenous leaders and experts are making it known that this was “not an isolated incident” and it’s quite likely that similar discoveries will be made at other sites. Because, of course, Canada committed genocide against Indigenous Peoples and the genocide continues with the ongoing disappearances and murders of Indigenous women and girls. Canada as a whole, with its broad network of institutions, continues to disadvantage people from Indigenous communities.
Like Joyce Echaquan, the Atikamekw woman who died last year in hospital in Quebec after livestreaming the atrocious treatment she received by hospital staff. The inquest into her death began two weeks ago exposing how Joyce and so many other Indigenous people weren’t just failed by a few individuals but by the entire healthcare system. Her seven children are now without a mother – so our country still, after a f-cking century, isn’t doing right by Indigenous children.
The discovery of the remains last week in Kamloops now has international attention. The BBC, CNN, the Guardian, the New York Times, and more have all covered the story. Not a good look, understatement, for the country that’s supposed to have a “nice” reputation?
This week marks the two year anniversary of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It’s a critical resource for anyone trying to understand more about Canada’s appalling history. If you are looking for organisations to support – not just financially but by learning more about their work, please visit the website for the Native Women’s Association of Canada. For more on Joyce’s Principle, a call to action in honour of Joyce Echaquan that “will make it possible to assert the rights of Indigenous people relative to healthcare and social services in Quebec and Canada”, please read the brief.
Yours in gossip,