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Reconciliation report says large number of residential school deaths caused by disease

The report states at least 3,213 children were reported to have died at the 150 residential schools that operated over the roughly 140-year history.

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An anthropologist’s report authorized by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission suggests some of the hundreds of graves found at residential grave sites are likely due to people killed by rampant disease.

Dr. Scott Hamilton, from the Department of Anthropology at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., was retained by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to look at the residential schools and those buried on school lands. His 44-page report is publicly available.

Hamilton said in 1883, Indian Affairs took over Christian schools for the indigenous and later established more to set up the “residential school system.”

A 1920 amendment to the Indian Act gave Indian Affairs the authority to send any school-age indigenous children to a day or residential school. The number of residential schools declined in the 1970s until the last one ceased operations in 1996.

“It appears that most residential school graveyards were established informally, and have left little in the way of formal documentation,” wrote Hamilton.

“This also likely contributed to a suspected under-reporting of mortality in the schools, particularly in late 19th Century. This would have been particularly the case when school staff faced emergency situations during disease outbreaks that resulted in multiple deaths. In such circumstances, they may have been caring for many sick people with insufficient medical assistance, and with little help in preparing and burying those who died.

“It is also clear that insufficient consideration was made for the continuing care of graveyards upon closure of the Indian Residential Schools.”

The report states at least 3,213 children were reported to have died at the 150 residential schools that operated over the roughly 140-year history.

In 1906, Dr. Peter Bryce, the chief medical officer for Indian Affairs, wrote that “the Indian population of Canada has a mortality rate of more than double that of the whole population, and in some provinces more than three times.” 

In 1909, Bryce and a colleague examined 243 students at seven schools in southern Alberta. Bryce found a “marked” presence of tuberculosis among all age groups. In some schools, “there was not a child that showed a normal temperature” and “in no single instance in any school where a young child was found awaiting admission, did it not show signs of tuberculosis.” In other words, they brought the disease to school.

The Spanish Flu was especially devastating. Hamilton writes that in 1918, only two people among the children and staff did not catch it at the school at Fort St. John, B.C., where 78 died. Hamilton quotes the diary of Father Joseph Allard who was the school principal who also conducted funeral services. 

“The others were brought in two or three at a time, but I could not go to the graveyard with all of them. In fact, several bodies were piled up in an empty cabin because there was no grave ready. A large common grave was dug for them,” Allard wrote.

Students weren’t the only ones buried at graveyards associated with the schools.

“Since the early residential schools operated at a time of high death rates, and were associated with missions located close to reserves, the mission cemeteries likely contain both the bodies of local school children and other community members,” Hamilton reported.

Indian Affairs did not have a formal policy on burial of children from residential schools until 1958. Schools usually covered burial costs for students who died, and the most inexpensive way to do so was to bury them in a cemetery at the school. Students, teachers, clergy, and nuns were buried there, and even those living nearby.

Yet, neither Indian Affairs, nor surrounding municipalities, paid for the maintenance of the cemeteries. That burden fell to local religious congregations. Over time, the wooden crosses marking the graves deteriorated, as did the fencing around the cemeteries.

Some school sites were remote and abandoned in the 1920’s and forests have grown over them.

“The cemeteries that have been documented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are, for the most part, abandoned, disused and vulnerable to accidental disturbance. Developing a strategy to address this problem is complicated,” Hamilton wrote.

Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Matt C

    July 5, 2021 at 12:07 am

    So…records obviously WERE kept: the government WAS aware of the graveyards at the schools …. they KNEW of the 3,213 children who died over the 140 year period that the residential schools operated…. they KNEW that the rate of infection and mortality rate was significantly higher than the rest of the Canadian population…. and they KNEW that the graveyards were not maintained following closures of the schools.

    So, what exactly is the story? Is it that children died of infectious diseases from things like TB, prior to the advent of modern antibiotics? Is it that the graveyards were established informally? Is it that the life expectancy on reservations was (and still is) significantly lower than the rest of the population? Is it that, graveside markers and crosses placed 40, 50 and even 140 years ago, which were apparently, not maintained (in particular, following closure of the schools according to the report), deteriorated and became overgrown?

    Or, is it that hundreds and possibly thousands of native Indian children were murdered by priests and religious brothers and sisters … and the number of deaths and location of gravesites were then recorded? Is that the real story??

  2. Left Coast

    July 2, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Folks with a little “Common Sense” and more than 3 functioning brain cells knew this from the start.

    Canada’s clown show Govt funded marxist FakeStream Media of course dove right in . . . after 6 years of covering for the Dumbest, Most Corrupt Crime Minister in History it was easy for them to blame the Schools & Church, without a shred of Real Evidence.

    There were no antibiotics in the 19th & early 20th century, tuberculosis, flu, whooping cough and other diseases claimed many victims. Child mortality rate was very high even in the big cities, but it was even higher on Indian Reservations. Reality is these schools likely saved many lives because conditions there were much better.

    Unhinged radicals go on a Burning spree . . . will our feckless Law Enforcement ever catch the Perps? After watching them try to find a stolen police car in the Maritimes with an onboard homing device for over 12 hours . . . and stalk a 400 pound Senator regarding his place of Residence for years . . . I suspect that is a dim hope.

  3. Mars Hill

    July 2, 2021 at 2:06 am

    The truth is coming out, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  4. Baron Not Baron

    July 1, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    I think the communists don’t like this info coming out..

  5. Hilary

    July 1, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    What a ridiculous comment.

  6. Matt C

    July 1, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    No surprise. The info quoted above from the Truth and Reconciliation report, was not hidden information.

    It’s interesting that the media reported about the discovery of “mass graves” (aka. cemetaries) with abated breath, yet they were
    conveniently unaware of the above-cited report. They got what they wanted…. smear Christians… stoke division.

    To date, I am aware of 4 catholic churches being burned down and 10 catholic churches here in Calgary were recently vandalized.

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Kenney leadership review to be held April 9 in Red Deer, in convention-style vote

The UCP board decided not to listen to demands from 22 constituency associations that wanted a review by March at the latest, said a Western Standard source close to the board.

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Editor’s note. Due to a typo, the initial version of the story said the review would be April 6. Sources say the vote will take place April 9.

A pay-to-vote leadership review of United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney will be held April 9 in Red Deer, the Western Standard has learned.

The UCP board decided not to listen to demands from 22 constituency associations that wanted a review by March at the latest, said a Western Standard source close to the board.

The source said the board felt it was “being generous” to the 22 rebel ridings by holding a review in April.

Details on how much it will cost to go to the conference are still being worked out, but it will be a system where you have to pay to vote, the source said.

Those details are expected to be announced in January.

While the board meeting was “friendly,” pro-Kenney factions later held long discussions to plan strategy, said the source.

A convention-style review appears to favour Kenney as opposed to a one-vote-per-party-member system as Kenney is famed for his political organizing power.

His office came under fire last month for allegedly using money from third-party political action committees (PACs) to send people to the UCP AGM which turned into a Kenney love-fest that left the leader smiling.

Kenney denied knowledge of the PAC money.

“I’m not involved in third party organizations, but third party political organizations are free, within the law, to be involved in politics,” said Kenney.

Prior to the AGM Airdrie-Cochrane UCP MLA Peter Guthrie sent Kenney a letter which said the party was on the verge of collapse. 

“Public opinion continues to wane, and we may be at a point where this party cannot be salvaged,” writes Guthrie, in the letter obtained by the Western Standard.

“Membership has fallen from 150,000 to less than 10,000 and fundraising is evaporating along with our credibility.”

Much of the UCP grassroots frustration has come on the heels of controversial COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Kenney also brought in a vaccine passport scheme he vowed never to introduce.

Another scandal that infuriated UCP members was when the infamous pictures were published of Kenney holding an outdoor dinner on the balcony of the “Sky Palace” in contravention of the government’s of laws, regulations, and guidelines.

In April, a UCP MLA told the Western Standard they are “100% certain” Kenney would be the subject of an early party leadership review.

“Caucus is in total chaos,” said the MLA, who spoke with the Western Standard on the condition of anonymity.

But the expected caucus revolt failed to materialize.

At one point the caucus booted MLAs Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes for dissension.

Editor’s note. Due to a typo, the initial version of the story said the review would be April 6. Sources say the vote will take place April 9.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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YouTube cancels Western Standard for reporting news story

“Your channel now has one strike,” said YouTube in the e-mail, adding Western Standard’s account has been suspended for one week.

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YouTube issued one strike against the Western Standard for reporting on a Calgary police officer who was put on leave for refusing the COVID-19 vaccinations.

YouTube sent the notification via e-mail to Derek Fildebrandt, president and CEO of the Western Standard, on Wednesday, and stated the video included in the story violates YouTube’s “medical misinformation policy.”

“YouTube doesn’t allow claims about COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO),” said the e-mail.

“YouTube banned our account for sharing content that contradicted the advice of the WHO and local health authorities,” said Fildebrandt.

“But the WHO and local health authorities contradict themselves. One such health authority, Alberta Health Services (AHS), had to contradict itself after the Western Standard caught them lying to Albertans about which they falsely claimed was a COVID-19 death of a child.”

The notice indicated YouTube had removed the video stating, “We know this might be disappointing, but it’s important to us that YouTube is a safe place for all.”

In the video, an emotional Const. Brian Denison, a 24-year veteran with the Calgary Police Service (CPS), explained the turmoil he has faced for refusing to be vaccinated by the December 1 deadline set out by the CPS.

Denison, one year from retirement, called the vaccine policy a “farce” and said the CPS is “bullying” staff. He also described the segregation of society into the “vaccinated and unvaccinated” as similar to Hitler’s Nazi regime.

The Western Standard’s News Editor Dave Naylor covered the story in an unbiased fashion and included the video of Denison.

“Your channel now has one strike,” said YouTube in the e-mail, adding Western Standard’s account has been suspended for one week.

The YouTube team further warned a second strike will result in a two-week suspension and three strikes within a 90-day period would result in the channel being permanently removed.

“YouTube — like other big tech and big social corporations — is so terrified of being regulated by the government that it over-regulates itself,” said Fildebrandt.

“In time, these monopolies will destroy themselves.”

The Western Standard has already submitted an appeal to YouTube and contacted their press department, as well as moved the video in question to Rumble.

“Of all the social media giants, YouTube has the weakest monopoly,” said Fildebrandt.

“They can ban the Western Standard and other media from posting legitimate news content all they like, and we’ll just put it on other platforms. That’s why we’ve been making a concerted effort to utilize platforms with a greater respect for free speech, like Rumble.”

The Western Standard did not receive a response from YouTube’s press department in time for publishing.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Canada joins growing diplomatic boycott of Chinese 2022 Olympics

The countries say the move is to protest the human rights record of the Chinese government, especially when it comes to the minority Uyghur Muslim community.

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First, it was the US. Then Australia. Now Canada has joined the list of countries refusing to send diplomats or high-level officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics next year.

The countries say the move is to protest the human rights record of the Chinese government, especially when it comes to the minority Uyghur Muslim community.

Canadian athletes will still be allowed to compete.

“For months, we have been coordinating and discussing the issue with our allies,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Wednesday.

“As many partners around the world, we are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government.

“This should not come as a surprise” to the Chinese regime, said Trudeau.

“(The athletes) need to have one thing in mind and that’s representing the country to the best of their ability and winning a gold medal for Canada,” he said.

Earlier this year, the House of Commons passed a motion calling the violence directed at religious minorities in China’s Xinjiang province as “genocide.” Trudeau and his cabinet were absent for the vote.

In a statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said it “understands and respects” the decision and applauds the effort to “draw an important distinction between the participation of athletes and the participation of government officials.”

Canada’s last Olympic boycott was in Russia in 1980, protesting that country’s invasion of Afghanistan.

The US announced its decision on Monday.

“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the [People’s Republic of China]’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing.

Chinese officials have already said the US will pay for its boycott.

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