The recent admission that the bodies of some 215 Onkwehonwe students have made headlines around the world. It wasn’t a secret here in Canada, Rumours of these missing children have circulated for a significant period. It is not so much of a discovery as it is an admission of guilt.
The gradual release of these reports comes only as fast as the Canadian Government public relation campaigns can prepare for the backlash.
As well, many records have simply been destroyed. According to a 1933 federal government policy, school returns could be destroyed after five years and reports of accidents could be destroyed after ten years. This led to the destruction of fifteen tons of paper. Between 1936 and 1944, 200,000 Indian Affairs files were destroyed.30
Truth and Reconciliation Final report
In 2012, Canadian researchers made an effort to look for thousands of missing children that vanished from residential schools without a trace. This proved quite difficult because the records had been destroyed per policy.
The Library and Archives of Canada has withheld a substantial amount of documentation and the report goes on to say that this delay severely impacted the ability of the researchers to include some information in the final report itself published in 2015
According to the report, In 2012, only eight provinces had agreed to support the “Missing Children Project” at an intergovernmental conference.” Representatives for Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec were not referenced in this critical discussion.
You don’t admit you’re a child killer
Neglect is considered a crime by withholding the necessities of life, and a considerable amount of deaths within residential schools is attributed to tuberculosis. Only a few records exist of Onkwehonwe children transferred out of the residential schools to nearby sanatoriums.
It wasn’t a matter of why the parents did not look for the children, but instead, could permission be granted to leave the reserve to visit their children. The pass system played a significant role in access to information to parents. The Indian agents and superintendent were in contact regularly. The agents were required to provide annual reports of their assignments, including the residential schools in their catchments.
The Ontario list of children who died while attending the schools in this province appears lower. By all accounts, this number may not reflect the actual numbers reported by the communities.
For the time being, the Canadian citizens will begin to hear about more discoveries while Onkwehonwe throughout Turtle Island mourns all of the generations lost through the extremely noticeable genocide.
On Behalf of Yakowennahskats: Her Beautiful voice, Condolences are offered to the family and community of those hidden children.