What Needs to be Celebrated on National Indigenous Peoples Day?

National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, is annually marked by many activities across the country showcasing the richness and diversity of Canada’s Indigenous people. As well as celebrating this richness […]

National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21, is annually marked by many activities across the country showcasing the richness and diversity of Canada’s Indigenous people.

As well as celebrating this richness and diversity, there is good reason to celebrate this June 21.  We now realize that no Indian Residential School children are missing, were never subjected to genocide, and are not buried in either individual or mass graves, as proclaimed in recent years.

That Aboriginals leaders, activists, and many ordinary Indigenous people, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, continue to expound the prevailing genocide and mass grave narrative even when it has been debunked logically and empirically should not be surprising: doing so protects their status, power, and economic well-being.

One of the best examples of this denial of truth is the reaction to the “discovery” of soil disturbances in the basement of the Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Catholic Church near Manitoba’s former Pine Creek Indian Residential School.

Some of the students who are still living have long spoken about the abuse they experienced there, and related “horror stories” about what happened in the basement of the church. Indigenous leaders and many residents suspected that the church held the remains of children who attended the local residential school.

To the Band’s credit, and unlike all other Indigenous bands searching for the remains of their “missing” students, the RCMP was called in last October to help with the investigation of the evidence, namely ground penetrating radar showing soil disturbances. But after excavating the site for nearly a month, no evidence of human remains was found. Likewise, no bodies have been found in several other excavations outside of known cemeteries.

With no accountability required and millions of dollars in federal funding to draw on, the Band’s Chief, Derek Nepinak, somberly claimed the negative outcome takes “nothing away from the difficult truths experienced by our families who attended the residential school in Pine Creek” and that “This does not mark the end of our truth-finding project.”

As for the claim of genocide employed as “a very brutal tool … in an effort to deal with the Indigenous presence in this country,” there is not one example of a student being murdered by staff members at any residential school over the 113-year period in which they were funding and supervised by the Canadian government.

This negative finding is surely worth celebrating.

The latest unfounded allegation comes from the head of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, Chief Terry Teegee, who recently suggested that the bodies of residential school “victims” may never be found because they were incinerated: “some of these residential schools or institutions had incinerators so there could [sic] be any potential of finding any remains.”

Chief Teegee said that he is not sure the number of victims will ever be known due to a lack of proper record keeping by school authorities, federal, and provincial governments. This is an erroneous assertion because the students were carefully tracked from school admission to discharge. The religions organizations managing most schools were paid on a per capita basis, and Indian Affairs required quarterly reports on the children living in the schools. In fact, there were school inspectors who ensured the children listed in the reports were living in the residences.

Unlike his timid Catholic Church peers, for several years now Calgary Bishop emeritus Fred Henry has expressed many doubts about the claims of abuse, missing children, and deaths at residential schools.

Henry strongly rebuked Teegee’s theory as follows: “This new claim of incineration would be truly laughable if the matter were not so serious,” wrote Henry in an email to The Catholic Register. “What took the Chief so long to come up with this one? Makes me wonder what’s next?”

As Canadians celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, the absence of mass graves, missing children, and especially the lack of evidence of the genocidal murder of thousands of Indigenous children, should be joyfully shouted from the rooftops rather than met with calls to keep searching.

Such will not happen because this has never been a search for missing or murdered children; rather it’s always been a never-ending treasure hunt supported by a mainstream media and compliant federal government unwilling to carefully probe any of the alleged findings.

A longer version of this commentary can be found here.

Hymie Rubenstein is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre and editor of REAL Indigenous Report.

 

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