It is ironic, to say the least, that the horrific story of the Indian Residential Schools came to light in June.
June is the month Canada commemorates National Indigenous History, recognizing the history, heritage and diversity of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in this country, and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day.
The irony is that if more Canadians had known more about the history, heritage and diversity of the Indigenous people, it wouldn’t have taken over a hundred years to realize something had gone wrong.
High on the list of making things right, in my opinion, must be including that history, heritage, and diversity in the school curriculum, and not as an elective.
With so much publicity flying around in both the regular and social media, it isn’t surprising that some residential school stories get a bit skewed. A number of headlines from reputable news sources said the bodies of the 215 children were buried in a mass grave. Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation says the children were buried in individual, but unmarked graves. Big difference.
The United Nations has defined a mass grave as “a burial site containing three or more victims of execution,” although an exact definition is not unanimously agreed upon. The point is a “mass grave” has ugly implications, makes it sound like the bodies were thrown in away in a hole. The residential school story is bad enough. Why make it worse?
The Cariboo has been lucky, so far anyway, in that we haven’t had huge outbreaks of COVID-19. But as long as any variation of the disease exists anywhere in the world, it is a threat to all of us everywhere. The only thing we can do as individuals is get vaccinated, and follow the rules.
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian and book author.