SNAP Stands in Solidarity with Canadian First Nations People and other Indigenous People in North America as more Mass Graves are Discovered
As yet another mass grave of indigenous children has been found in Canada, our hearts ache for the victimized children and their families. As disturbing as this news is, we hope that the discovery of these unconscionable actions by Canadian Catholic officials will inspire action on behalf of these forgotten children. We also hope that it will lead to a reckoning for all those involved in any crimes these boys and girls may have suffered.
This latest discovery means that the bodies of as many as 1000 indigenous children were apparently discarded without meaning, ceremony, or respect. What those boys and girls suffered before their untimely deaths may surely be as horrific as how their remains were treated posthumously. The depravity evident in this situation should inspire action among secular leaders in Canada and indeed in every single country where the indigenous were forced into reeducation-style schools. It is sad to say, but it is more likely than not that what happened in Kamloops and Marieval happened at every other school operated by Catholic officials.
After the first discovery of mass graves in Canada, Pope Francis could not even bring himself to say the words “I am sorry.” We can only wonder what his response will be after the discovery of this latest crime against humanity. Regardless of what comes out of the Vatican, we will be looking to secular leadership in Canada’s government and law enforcement system for the true answers to our questions: For how long were these crimes ongoing? How many children were treated this way? Who were the men who allowed it to happen? Only when those questions are answered will healing and justice be possible.
We stand with our indigenous brothers and sisters across North America who experienced cultural erasure, human rights violations, and the abuse of their bodies and souls at the hands of government officials and Church leaders. We hope that their plight receives the attention it deserves and that the discovery of these crimes will not simply be another footnote in the long list of crimes against children perpetrated by the global Catholic Church.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)