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Pope to acknowledge suffering at Canadian schools

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posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 03:48 PM

Originally posted by pigwithoutawig
reply to post by FreeSpeaker

I'm Canadian, born in N.F.L.D. and raised in N.B. and Montreal and 10 yrs in T.O. I'm in my late 40's and I thought Canada to be one of the best, kindest and most fortunate countries in the world. Then about a year ago I saw that Documentary on the Priest in Vancouver and the Aboriginal children forced to go to these schools and abused and killed. I really felt bad and ashamed and stupid. I read papers,books and watch movies my whole life. I went to school, watched the news and thought i was informed.

Its not surprising you didn't know about it, as a poster said earlier he's aboriginal and had no idea. I probably wouldn't know if I hadn't spent some time growing up in the north. It really is truly sad. The surviving brother of the family I mentioned in my OP has always had a very haunted and beaten look in his eyes, so much so I can never forget the look in his eyes, and who can blame him.

The scariest thing my friend is this didn't happen a hundred years ago, it was happening up into the 70's. This apology from the pope might just be the breaking of the dam that finnaly gets this into the limelight. Its something all Canadians should be aware of, the survivers deserve that much.

[edit on 16-4-2009 by FreeSpeaker]

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 05:25 PM
I have had time to finish the documentary Unrepetant and all I can say is this is a film all Canadians must see.

Please, all Canadians, watch this film. I promise you will find it shocking and disturbing, you will not believe what has happend in our "peaceful" country. This needs to be brought to the light of day.

Some points from the film:
1- they were given numbers to identify themselves when they arrived at the schools. Nazi's anyone.
2-were punished for reading, laughing, hugging, talking their native tounge, anything basically.
3-punishments included electrocution, sexual assault, physical assault, forced confinment, humiliation of many kinds,etc. Many of these crimes occured for nothing less than the entertainment of the those in charge of these childrens well being. Preists and nuns.
4-the aboriginal people were intenionally infected with smallpox.
5-the priest who made this film nearly had his life and that of his young family's destroyed by a vengeful church who did not want him reporting or digging in to these matters.

Please, please watch this film. Even if you are not Canadian, the things revealed in this documentary reach far into the inner politics of Canadian religious organizations and documents these churches will to cover up their crimes.

[edit on 16-4-2009 by FreeSpeaker]

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 09:11 PM
I had to post this after reading it;

The term “Final Solution” was not coined by the Nazis, but by Indian Affairs Superintendent Duncan Campbell Scott in April of 1910 when he referred to how he envisioned the “Indian Problem” in Canada being resolved. Scott was describing planned murder when he came up with the expression, since he first used it in response to a concern raised by a west coast Indian Agent about the high level of deaths in the coastal residential schools. On April 12, 1910, Scott wrote,
“It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by habitating so closely in these schools, and that they die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is geared towards the final solution of our Indian Problem.” (Department of Indian Affairs Superintendent D.C. Scott to B.C. Indian Agent-General Major D. McKay, DIA Archives, RG 10 series).


The film Unrepentant mentions that doctors with german accents did medical experiments on some of the children, could it be possible that the same germans returned to germany with the idea of a "final solution" from a Canadian? That thought is quite disturbing.

[edit on 16-4-2009 by FreeSpeaker]

posted on Apr, 16 2009 @ 10:08 PM

Originally posted by theknuckler
Being an aboriginal myself, I do not even hear much about this. I'm too young to have attended the mandated schools, but to think my ancestors HAD to is quite disturbing. My grandparents are not around anymore, and they passed away when I was young so I never heard anything about it. I'm interested in knowing more and am going to watch that video.

Knuckler, I'll address this post to you and hopefully other readers can benefit from it. Here's my experience with native children in Catholic schools. First of all, the years I'm going to talk about were 1966-67. I was 17 years old in 1966 and this all occurred in Alberta. Here we go:

Our family lived in an average to nice, very clean but very small home. My parents were working steadily but were still struggling with just keeping food on the table. My mother was secretary at the Catholic school we attended and I think that's how she found out that she could earn extra income if we would provide "room and board" to 2 or 3 young aboriginal boys. The purpose of this was so that they could attend the same school that my brothers and I went to. So they stayed with us during the school week and on Friday night, they were picked up by their parents and returned to their home for the weekend. Just to be perfectly upfront about this... back in those days we called them Indians and that term was accepted as the norm. We never even heard of the idea of calling them "native" or "aboriginal". Of course the term "indian" was not meant to be disparaging or insulting... it was just the norm back then.

My 2 brothers and I were not particularly happy to have "strangers" living and dining with us, not because we didn't like natives, but because our home was already too small for us. On the contrary, all 4 of us (my 2 brothers, one sister and myself) were all born in a very small Alberta town that had 2 native reserves nearby. So as very young children, we met and really enjoyed the company of native children our own age. So we had good experiences with native kids.

But here's the part of the story than always seemed strange to me and maybe now I'm only starting to learn why. There were never native girls who stayed with us, I suppose because our home was already full of teenage boys. That part's not the strange part. Our sister had moved out already to attend university. The stranger part of this goes like this: while these 2-3 native boys were dining with us, my brothers and I always tried to invite them into our conversations and we tried to entertain them with our humor. We tried everything to make them feel more at home. My brothers and myself are naturally friendly, so we went out of our way to try to make these native guys feel welcome. But they were very shy, very quiet and very polite. But they just wouldn't talk with us, no matter how hard we tried. Over a period of 2 years, we just couldn't get them to engage in conversation. We just assumed they were incredibly shy.

In retrospect, I'm wondering if it was because they were "sad". I never even thought to ask "why" they would want to come into the city and attend a Catholic school. I had absolutely no idea that our government was at work doing something that might have had a darker agenda. If so, it's something that we couldn't possibly have known about. But recently I heard Alex Jones talking about how even the Canadian government (who I always thought was squeaky clean) had been guilty of practicing various forms of eugenics at the expense of natives. I'm constantly amazed at how much Alex Jones knows. But it turns out, as usual he was correct.

So inadvertently, in an attempt to earn an extra $40 per month per child, my mother and our family might have been playing right into the hands of the dark lords and didn't even know it. Today, I'd love to hear the story from the perspective of those young men who stayed with us.

I can say that during their entire stay with us (2 years), they were well fed and well treated at our home and they were well treated at school and I believe they were successful at their studies. I can also say that these native kids were actually very popular at school and were not picked on by their peers. In fact, the entire 'white' student body of the school felt like it was our duty to welcome the native children and we were glad to do it. The general attitude was that we would even protect them if necessary, but no danger ever came to them that I'm aware of. So from my perspective, I could see no harm being done to them at all.

But I'll always wonder if somehow we were contributing to something we shouldn't have been. Maybe these kids were being "forced" out of their homes to attend school in the city? If that's the case... that's absolutely horrible and unacceptable. But from our angle, we thought we were doing something good and treated them very well. To be honest, if our government was guilty of atrocities that to this day I'm only scratching the surface of.... I'm embarrassed and ashamed of Canada for the first time in my life.

That's all I have to offer, but hopefully it fits as a piece of a bigger puzzle somehow.

Best regards

posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 06:44 AM

Originally posted by FreeSpeaker
I have had time to finish the documentary Unrepetant and all I can say is this is a film all Canadians must see.

Please, all Canadians, watch this film. I promise you will find it shocking and disturbing, you will not believe what has happend in our "peaceful" country.
This needs to be brought to the light of day.

Couldn't agree more

posted on Apr, 17 2009 @ 12:23 PM

Originally posted by Albertarocks
Maybe these kids were being "forced" out of their homes to attend school in the city? If that's the case... that's absolutely horrible and unacceptable.

I'm sure they probably were, but lets not forget the parents were forced to sign over guardianship to the schools principal or be thrown in jail. You also mentioned they would not open up and talk to you. You can be sure that was from fear, fear that the school would hear they were talking to you and potentialy bringing up the abuses inficted upon them.

Originally posted by Albertarocks
To be honest, if our government was guilty of atrocities that to this day I'm only scratching the surface of.... I'm embarrassed and ashamed of Canada for the first time in my life.

You are not alone.

posted on Apr, 29 2009 @ 10:41 AM
Here's an update

Pope sorry for abuse at church-run native schools

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict apologized Wednesday for the abuse and “deplorable conduct” of some church members at church-run Canadian schools that aboriginals were forced to attend.

The pontiff expressed his sorrow during a meeting with former students and representatives of the native Canadians, telling them acts of abuse can never be tolerated by society.

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 native children in Canada were made to attend state-funded Christian schools as an effort to assimilate them into Canadian society. Nearly three-quarters of the 130 schools were run by Catholic missionary congregations.

“What we wanted the Pope to say to us was that he was sorry and ... that he deeply felt for us,” said Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. “We heard that very clearly today.”

The Canadian government has admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant, and has apologized and offered compensation.

On Wednesday, a group of victims attended the Pope’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square and later met with him privately to share their stories and concerns, the Vatican said in a statement.

“Given the sufferings that some indigenous children experienced in the Canadian residential school system, the Holy Father expressed his sorrow at the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the church and he offered his sympathy and prayerful solidarity,” the statement said.

“His Holiness emphasized that acts of abuse cannot be tolerated in society,” it said, adding that the Pope was praying that the victims would heal and move forward “with renewed hope.”

“The coming to Rome was a high point” on the road to reconciliation said Archbishop of Winnipeg James Weisgerber, the head of Canada’s bishops’ conference. “It’s a long journey and the church is commited to be with the” native Canadians.

Out of a delegation of 40, five native and five church representatives met privately with the Pope, who addressed them with off-the-cuff remarks in Italian and English, Weisgerber said at a news conference.

Fontaine, who himself suffered abuse at one of the schools, related that the Pope said the situation had caused him “personal anguish” — an expression of suffering that “gives us the comfort we are seeking.”

The native Canadians brought blankets, pipes, moccasins and a gift of an eagle feather, one of the highest honours in aboriginal culture. Some of the items were left at the Vatican while others were returned after being blessed by the pontiff.

The aim of the residential school system was to isolate the native Canadians from the influence of their homes and culture, which the government at the time considered inferior to mainstream Canadian society.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology in Parliament last year, calling the treatment of children at the schools a sad chapter in the country’s history. He said the policy of forced assimilation was wrong, had caused great harm and had no place in the country.

Canada has also offered compensation, part of a lawsuit settlement between the government, churches and the approximately 90,000 surviving students that amounted to billions of dollars being transferred to aboriginal communities.

The Catholic Church alone paid some $79 million, the Canadian bishops’ conference said.

The United, Presbyterian and Anglican churches have already apologized for their roles in the abuse.


I still feel the pope and the leaders of the other churches responsible should come to Canada and apologize formally to the entire first nations people.

posted on Nov, 16 2012 @ 01:23 PM
Well, I was just about to post a thread on this topic, and came across this one. I am surprised it was generally ignored. I am half native myself, so I knew all about it from family. It's surprising how there is probably not one person on earth that don't know about the holocaust during WW2, but many never heard of the holocaust in canada, that was going on until the early 90's.

I am glad someone tried to bring some attention to it here. It is one hell of a conspiracy for sure, fits right in on ATS.

posted on Nov, 16 2012 @ 02:10 PM
reply to post by TKDRL

Sadly, as I have grown older and been more exposed to the "world" as some have crafted it, I have realized that it is NOT about religion.....

It's everywhere, in any institution that places adults in a position to do as they please to any child. Government institutions, religious institutions, commercial orphanages and juvenile detention centers, all manner of so-called "havens" for children - the least capable of caring for themselves ...

I suspect we will also find it in insane asylums, geriatric centers, and any place else that we think are "safe."

Many will use this specific continuum of abhorrent behavior to fixate on their favorite thing to hate... but many of us are realizing that it's not the "institution" - it's the people there.... especially those we are told to think of as our celebrity "heroes."

posted on Nov, 16 2012 @ 02:26 PM
The world is disgusting. In this instance, the church and the canadian government are equally to blame. Kidnapping, physical, mental, and sexual abuse; and murder.

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