Friday, 6 November 2009

Unmarked graves of aboriginal people who died in government care a disgrace

I was struck by the similarities of that story to the tales I heard last spring from residents of the Eastern Arctic communities of Rankin Inlet and Arviat whose loved ones, killed in a Northern Manitoba plane crash in 1949, were buried in a mass, unmarked grave at the nearby Norway House reserve. The seven Inuit passengers, on their way to polio treatment in Winnipeg, were the only ones of the 20 Canadians aboard the plane whose bodies were not transported back to their home towns for burial. All others were non-aboriginal.

Canada was quick to assert its authority and responsibilty to "rescue" the sick, but its humanity had limits. In death, a body became an inconvenience.

How many died in government "care" remains to be documented -- the story yet untold from Canada's sorry history of inhumane treatment of indigenous people, a local historian told me. They were buried in fields adjoining schools, or municipal cemeteries. Most of those schools have been torn down and the plots forgotten and grown over.

in reference to:

"Unmarked graves of aboriginal people who died in government care a disgrace"
- Long buried truths emerging - Winnipeg Free Press (view on Google Sidewiki)

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