From boarding schools to child detention: The lives of children matter

Israeli forces detain five Palestinian children, while they were picking wild vegetables. (photo: via Twitter)
Children everywhere pay the price of our nation state aggression and violence.

By Benay Blend  | The Palestine Chronicle | June 6, 2021

Like settler colonial projects everywhere, including the Americas and Palestine, its “objectives…were always a combination of land appropriation, resource extraction and demographic engineering.”
— Adel Eskander, Assistant Professor of Global Communication at Simon Fraser University

Yes, I am thinking of Palestinian children and undocumented children as well,” mused Diné activist Melissa Tso. “They are literally being killed daily by these settler governments.” As “an essential part of [her] culture,” running helps to “process things,” and so she did the 2.15 run in memory of the 215 Indigenous children who were found in a mass grave at Kamloop residential school in Canada.

On May 29, 2021, Aljazeera reported that the remains of more than 200 Indigenous children, some as young as three, had been found at the site of a former residential school in the western province of British Columbia.

“To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation chief Rosanne Casimir explained. They are among the many victims of mental and sexual abuse, neglect and other forms of violence over a period of 100 years during which church-supported boarding schools operated across Canada.

By forcibly taking children from their families, the schools sought to break Indigenous family and cultural ties in order to assimilate the children into white Canadian society. According to Maskwasis Boysis, co-founder of Bear Clan patrol—Calgary and Chairman of the Mimiw Sakihikan’Iyiniwak Social Justice Committee, approximately 6000 native children died in residential schools from disease, beatings, firing squads, malnutrition, and electrocution, among other forms of torture and neglect.

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