For the first time in Canadian history, a public museum will exhibit evidence which makes reference to overtly genocidal policies by both the churches and government of Canada towards indigenous people, including in the deadly Indian residential schools.
Relying primarily on the research gathered by Rev. Kevin Annett in his book Hidden No Longer: Genocide in Canada, Past and Present (2010, www.hiddennolonger.com), the aboriginal advisory committee of the new Peel Region Heritage Museum in Brampton, Ontario convinced the Museum designers, Vilnis Cultural Design Works, to establish a display that shows that genocide, according to the United Nations’ definition of the crime, did occur in the Indian residential school system.
The schools were established and run jointly by the Vatican and the Crown of England in 1834, and continued until 1996. According to government statistics, nearly half of the 150,000 children in these schools died because of treatment and conditions there.
The decision to document this genocide in the new Peel Region Museum was forced by the Advisory committee’s chair, Allan Jamieson of the Haudenosaunee Nation, who faced major opposition from Vilnis to include the term “genocide” in the Museum displays.
“We want to tell our story about what happened to our people, and is still happening in Canada, and we want Canadians and others to learn about it, and we don’t want to sugar coat it” said Jamieson to Teka News this week.
“As victims of this genocide, we have a right to characterize for ourselves how we have been, and still are mistreated. The committee’s work does not include having to convince the Vilnis team of genocide in Canada … It is truly tiring and demeaning to have to try to convince learned people about accurate history.”
Allan Jamieson, who has consulted Rev. Annett in the past, has also learned that Canadian government agencies make up about one third of Vilnis’ business. Their list of clients includes companies that also benefit from the dispossession of First Nations lands including a home builders association, a mining association, and a pulp and paper company.
Until now, not a single Canadian Museum has displayed the evidence of the massive mortality level in Indian residential schools or of their deliberate murder and crimes, documented in archived letters and testimonies published by Rev. Annett since 1998.
“It’s an incredible breakthrough” commented Rev. Annett today in London, England, where he is working with an International Tribunal to bring charges against Canada and its churches for genocide.
“Thanks to the persistence of Allan Jamieson and his people, the truth of crimes against humanity in Canada is finally being formally acknowledged, and taught to the next generation. The walls of denial are tumbling, and a huge leap has now been made towards bringing those responsible to justice.”
The London-based International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS) has been endorsed by over thirty organizations, including survivors of child abuse in nine nations, as well as seven different indigenous nations across Canada.