Canada marks 1st national holiday for indigenous reconciliation

Canada on Thursday held the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honor the lost children and survivors of indigenous schools, following the gruesome discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves.

Iran PressAmerica: A residential school system, which operated between 1831 and 1996, removed about 150,000 indigenous children from their families. Some were subjected to abuse, rape, and malnutrition at schools in what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 called "cultural genocide.

Run by the government and Christian churches - mostly Catholic - the schools' stated aim was to assimilate indigenous children. Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government created the new federal holiday in June.

Discovery of unmarked graves reopened deep wounds

Today indigenous peoples suffer from higher levels of poverty and violence, and shorter life expectancies.

"On this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we reflect on the lasting impacts of residential schools," Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, a day after marking the holiday at an event held on the lawn in front of Parliament, adding: "We remember the children who never made it home."

A ceremony was held in front of Parliament on Thursday, and there were similar events around the country. Later, there will be a one-hour national broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) and other channels with the stories and perspectives of those affected by the residential school system.

Canada must compensate indigenous foster children: Court

Canada's Federal Court on Wednesday upheld a human rights tribunal ruling ordering the Canadian government to compensate indigenous children and families in foster care for suffering discrimination.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in 2016 that the federal government allocated fewer funds for child and family services of indigenous people than for non-indigenous people, pushing more indigenous children into foster care.

Since May, hundreds of unmarked graves of children have been discovered at former residential schools, run for indigenous children forcibly separated from their families in what has been called “cultural genocide.”

The findings have reopened old wounds in Canada regarding the notorious residential schools, which were mostly operated by the Roman Catholic Church on behalf of the government of Canada during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Overall, 130 boarding schools forcibly separated more than 150,000 indigenous children from their families and had them attend state-funded schools in a campaign aimed at presumably assimilating the minors into the Canadian society.

Thousands of children died of disease, malnutrition, neglect, and other causes at the schools, where physical as well as sexual abuse was rife.

In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologized.

Indigenous people, who make up less than 5% of the population, also face higher levels of poverty and violence and shorter life expectancy.


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Canada must compensate indigenous foster children: court