Further land surveys are underway at the former compulsory schools in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported the investigation into the children’s graves. The question of conducting medical research on children of indigenous people, about whom historian Ian Mosby from Ryerson University wrote.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would support an investigation into children’s graves. He added that according to Canadian law, the decision rests with the police and prosecutors. “I will support whatever Canadians need to understand the truth and move on towards reconciliation,” he announced.
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In the Atikamekw community of Manawan, north of Montreal, a ceremony has been underway for several days since Monday dedicated to children who have disappeared after being admitted to hospitals in Quebec.
Families cannot determine what happened to around 50 children between 1930 and 1980. As reported in the media, children from other indigenous communities, admitted to medical facilities, also disappeared at that time.
Manawan is one of the groups that led to the passing of a local law in June to make it easier for families of children who are placed in institutions administered by Quebec government to obtain information.
Research on children
It is not known what happened in hospitals, but it is known that Canadian doctors conducted research on the principles of nutrition on children. Historian Ian Mosby of Ryerson University published an article eight years ago describing research conducted between 1942 and 1952 in indigenous communities and in compulsory schools for indigenous peoples.
As Mosby wrote, it all started when officials saw malnutrition in indigenous communities and schools, a group of officials and scientists concluded that nutrition theories could be tested there. It was not noted that the problem of malnutrition was due to the fact that the colonization of Canada deprived the indigenous people of hunting and access to traditionally used plants.
Mosby wrote that a federal nutrition department was established in 1941, and Lionel Pett, a physician and biochemist, became its head, who had conducted research on about 1,000 children. Some of the children were to remain hungry because they were the control group for the food experiments.
Unmarked burials of children discovered
From the end of May, at four former so-called residential schools GPR surveys revealed over 1,000 unmarked burials. Research began last weekend at the former Delmas Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.
Residential schools were established at the beginning of the second half of the 19th century with the aim of adapting indigenous peoples to live in a modern society. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published a report describing school activities as “cultural genocide.”
The report mentioned 4,100 children who died in schools. The last schools, with about 150,000 children passing through, were closed only in the 1990s. They were funded from the federal budget and run by the Catholic (60 percent) and Protestant (40 percent) churches.
Main photo source: PROVINCIAL ARCHIVES OF SASKATCHE/PAP/EPA