This week, a group called the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) held a press conference outside the Indian Affairs office in Downtown Vancouver to announce the formation of a non-government inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of children of the First Nations who were put into the residential school system between 1840 to 1990.
They have chosen a non-governmental inquiry because they do not the government or its officers to let the truth come out.
As part of the investigation, they have presented to the press and the public a list of 28 mass graves across Canada that hold the bodies of the children.
This is one of those moments that we as Canadians should find horrifying. Horrifying because of the atrocities that may have happened; horrifying because, if the atrocities did happen, they happened with the the implicit and possibly explicit knowledge of the authorites; and horrifying because they have been so long ignored.
And please note I use the words "may" and "if" not to express disbelief, but only because I don't know enough about this to say what is the truth.
But I do know the way to find out.
If there are graves, dig them up. If there are bodies, examine them. Learn who they are, learn how they died, and return them to their families and Nations for proper burial.
There are a wealth of archeologists, forensic pathologists, and many others across Canada whose skills could be utilized here. Exhume the bodies, collect the evidence, and let the truth come out.
Of course, I believe our current government will do its damnedest to sweep this under the rug, and I believe the media will mostly ignore it. But I hope I am wrong.
As South Africa showed us, there can be no healing without truth. So let the digging begin, and let the truth come to light.
H/T to The Vanity Press