by Kevin D. Annett
The tiny bone weighs hardly anything, and yet it is the weightiest evidence in Canadian history.
The forensic specialists are nearly definite that it’s the upper thigh bone of a small child, maybe four or five years old. This month, their tests will confirm what I felt was true when I recently lifted it from the soil near the former Anglican Indian school in Brantford: that the first of Canada’s Disappeared – the missing and murdered residential school children – have begun to come home.
Canada and its churches tried for decades to bury and forget the bone, and the other remains of the 50,000 and more children who died in their residential “schools”. And when these innocents’ deaths could no longer be denied, the same guilty parties distracted us from their foul deed with “reconciliation” babble and a whitewashing “truth and reconciliation commission” that has not once turned over the soil at a residential school grave.
That’s all about to change, in a way that most of us have yet to realize.
For one thing, once this bone, or others, are positively identified as human, the entire Indian residential schools issue becomes no longer a matter of public platitudes about “healing”, but of a massive crime scene. Every possible church record and grave site connected to a residential school will have to be opened and examined by competent specialists – and that does not and cannot mean the RCMP, police or any agent of the Crown or church, who are, after all, complicit in the crime.
The opening of these graves, in other words, will require and compel us to reinvent Canada, transforming it from an agent of the Crown and its church partners to a sovereign Republic with the power to prosecute historic agents of genocide, such as, in the Brantford case, the Church of England and its head, Elizabeth Windsor.
Most mainstream Canadians want such a change to a Republic, anyway: 58% of them, in the latest national poll. And what better issue to ignite such sovereignty than the need to bring comfort and justice to innocent children who died at our hands?
Some of the good people in southern Ontario have already taken such a step by forming something called Not in Our Name!(Non!): a community network that wants to rally support for the excavations at the local residential school authorized by Mohawk elders recently, that I have helped to organize. But Non! is more than that. To quote one of its statements,
We are sickened and outraged by the acts of the Anglican, Catholic and United churches … For generations, our ancestors have been lied to and fooled by these churches and the crown to fund the slaughter of native people, our friends and neighbors. They have killed children in our name and continue to profit from their crime by not paying taxes and having we, the taxpayers, foot their legal bills! … The churches must instead account for their crimes not with words, or money, but by giving up their right to operate as protected corporations above the law … We must take back our churches and our culture by returning the land and wealth they stole from the original people, and disestablishing their right to operate as anything larger than individual congregations. Perhaps that will allow moral as well as material reparations to murdered children …
Non! could spell the death knell of the church corporations that have evaded justice for so long, simply because it’s a movement emerging from within the churches themselves. One of the Non! organizers is a retired clergyman who actually left the church over its cover up of the residential schools massacre: a man who, like me, was pilloried and persecuted for his stand, but, unlike me, has chosen to stay silent about what happened to him. Until now.
Our excavations at the Anglican Indian school in Brantford are waiting for the new year, and more research, to resume, but already, three other indigenous nations have asked me to come and help them begin similar digs at their local Indian residential school mass graves.
Meanwhile, Non! is spreading as well, and setting up similar groups across the country. “White” Canadians, it seems, are switching their allegiance, and laying the basis for a sovereign nation capable of facing its past crimes and present possibilities. It all seems to echo the words of a Mohawk elder whom I’ve come to befriend and respect, Bill Squire, who said to me last week,
Once we bring home our murdered children we’ve acted as a real nation, saying, this is our crime site. And then we’re going to put Canada on trial.
Bill Squire will get his chance this spring, when a European Union parliamentary committee will hear and see the forensic proof of the dead children at the Brantford school – and much more. Canada could then face sanctions, and an international war crimes tribunal. And it will all be thanks to a small bone fragment, and many more like it, that you and I and many others will bring to light, by saying our Non!, loudly and clearly, and through action.
Welcome to the Republic of Kanata.