Different, but connected

Further on the idea of people making up their own stories, the discovery of unmarked children’s graves continued last week. Dealing with this seems to be an idea whose time has come. A lot of people are understandably shocked about it, and demanding something be done. Others are pointing out that it wasn’t exactly a secret. People who were paying attention, at the time, knew children died and were not memorialized in the usual way.

But saying they were ‘murdered’ as a certain northern Alberta weekly newspaper did, in a headline, is going too far. The word ‘genocide’ is also unwarranted, at least in its normal sense.

Cultural genocide? The connection between the effort to ‘take the Indian out of the child,’ as John A. MacDonald famously said, and kids dying and then being discarded in unmarked graves needs some looking into. They are not the same thing, but they are definitely connected.

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