I am a mother who has buried her child. Today is the anniversary day of Davis’ passing. How we long for him! When someone you love is ripped from your life, it leaves you in excruciating pain. The deep feelings of loss never leave you. I allow myself a lot of reflective time around his memorial date; I put myself in God’s care and intentionally rest there. This year, though, I am also wrestling fury with the discovery of 215 children’s graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The red school. That’s what we called it every time we drove by it to go to our favorite lake. It was a huge, imposing red brick building. We moved to Kamloops in 1970. I was always curious about the school and asked people about it but no one ever had much to say. It was a place shrouded in mystery. Now we know why.
As I’ve dealt with my own grief of loss, I’ve often thought about what could be more painful than the death of a child. In my heart, it would be having my child missing and not having any answers. “To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” says Chief Rosanne Casimir. Children ripped from the lives of their parents and then disappearing. The pain… excruciating!
Kamloops had the largest residential school. There were many more across the country. There has been documentation about the rampant sexual and physical abuse at the schools by those brave enough to speak out. Founded by the Canadian federal government in 1890, the Catholic Church operated this Indian Residential School; there must be accountability. Our elected federal governments turned a blind eye over the years. It’s time for Canada to bring investigation, disclosure and justice on behalf of our First Nations people. We need to know the truth and stand in solidarity with them. When news like this breaks, our hearts need to break as well. That’s what will bring change.