Dear Review,

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the discovery of 215 unmarked graves of First Nation children at the Kamloops residential school.

It is a shocking discovery, yet not a surprise to the Canadian Native community, who have long known of the horrific abuse of their children that took place at those infamous houses of horror. The suffering it has caused lingers to this day for the survivors and their families.

Certainly, it originated with the Indian Act, which led to the creation of the residential school system, which sole purpose was the purging of native culture from these Indigenous children, who were stolen from their families and communities, herded into these schools, hidden from view, and subjected to all manner of physical, sexual, mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse by Catholic nuns and priests. And, then, those children who died in these places whether by neglect, abuse, or sickness, were buried secretly, in unmarked graves!

As I watched and listened intently to the news report on this tragedy, I fully expected the Catholic Church to be held accountable for the torture and murder of thousands (Perhaps up to 6000), First Nation children, over the years that they ran these residential schools, however, little was mentioned about the churches responsibility for this crime.

My sadness turned to anger, and furthermore, when it was reported that the current Pope refused to even offer an apology, I was absolutely livid! Seventy per cent of residential schools in Canada, were run by the Catholic Church, and the accounts of the survivors tell of the most cruel and mean spirited treatment that they endured at the hands of the nuns and priests who worked there.

In partnership with the genocidal Indian Act, it was an ideal opportunity for the Catholic Church to punish these unfortunate children, who in the Catholic view, came from a primitive, uncivilized, heathen culture, not worthy of the love of God, and needing physical and spiritual cleansing of their savage ways.

What a despicable crime has been perpetrated against our original hosts in this country we call Canada. The destruction was widespread, but I take heart in the fact that the First Nation People were not completely erradicated as intended by the Indian Act, the Residential School system, and their willing partner in crime, The Catholic Church.

Sarah Martin
Lefaivre, ON