The Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that up to 6000 Aboriginal children died in residential schools, although the real number is likely higher because the government stopped recording student deaths in 1920, I guess because they didn't do body counts of the enemy.
Since we're considering how to properly memorialize these victims, it might be a good time to remind everyone that we're about to build a gigantic "Victims of communism" memorial on the front lawn of the Supreme Court. Also known as The Distractitorium.
The monument is ridiculous on many levels. For example, it memorializes a million Vietnamese killed by Ho Chi Minh's government, but not the million or so killed by the U.S., many with Canadian-made bullets, napalm and mines.
But the multi-million dollar tribute to victims of official enemies must be particularly hard to swallow for victims of our own government, living on a reserve with boil-water advisories, waiting for a billion dollars in promised spending that hasn't come.
It's really easy to criticize other governments for their crimes. It doesn't take any courage to do that. It's far more meaningful to face up to the truly savage things our government has done, because we can actually do something about it.
As horrific as the legacy of residential schools is, it only scratches the surface of the barbaric treatment of Indigenous Canadians throughout our country's history. And there’s a direct line between that history and the pervasive problems many of them suffer from today.
And yet they're the ones on the front lines of environmental battles, using their treaty rights to protect the air and water and climate we all need. Why did we want to destroy the only culture that has its priorities straight?
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission gave 94 recommendations for actions the government can take to start repairing the relationship between aboriginal people and the rest of the country. Number 75 suggests memorializing the victims of residential schools.
So if we're going to put a big memorial on the front lawn of the Supreme Court, those are the victims it should be dedicated to. The victims Canadians are responsible for.
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