Members of the Conseil québécois des autochtones du SCFP-Québec (Indigenous Council of CUPE Quebec) met the day before Canada Day, and the mood was definitely not festive. Among other things, the committee made reference to the recent discovery of the bodies of over one thousand children in mass graves on the grounds of residential schools in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. In the 20th century, these institutions took in close to 150,000 Indigenous children across the country, who often were forcibly removed from their families.

“It took grisly discoveries of indescribable sadness for the general public to realize what Indigenous communities have known since time immemorial – that racism directed at these communities claimed lives, and the repercussions of these horrors are still being felt today,” said Nathalie Claveau president of the Conseil québécois des autochtones du SCFP-Québec.

In place of the Canada Day festivities, the committee suggests that the country lower flags to half mast to invite Canadians to examine this painful part of their history. The latest searches, which uncovered for all to see the disgraceful acts that took place in Indigenous residential schools, must continue. Intensive searches should be conducted at all of the sites. Unfortunately, other abominable discoveries of this type are anticipated.

“Collectively, we will emerge from this only once everything has been brought to light. We must learn from the past so that history is not repeated,” concluded Nathalie Claveau.