by Mumia Abu-Jamal © 07/02/21
While most of us think of schools as a social good, in the history of some people, that has not been the case. Among Canada’s indigenous people, those we have come to call “Indians,” schools have become a place of pain, sorrow, and loss.
For the better part of a century these schools, called residential schools, were where indigenous children came to be whipped, punished, and traumatized for the sin of not being white. First run by the government, later by the Roman Catholic church, these schools became a site of horror, torture, and death.
Recently, the ground surrounding the residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, revealed the graves of over 200 indigenous children.
Subsequent searches have found hundreds of other children around so-called “residential schools.”
I recently read a book by Native leader, George Manuel, [1921-1989] entitled “The Fourth World,” published in 1974, who wrote of his school years in the following way:
“Three things stand out in my mind, hunger, speaking English, and being called a heathen because of my grandfather. On the day we arrived at the school each new boy was assigned an interpreter who was a senior student. All the teachers were monks or devout lay Catholics. We called them brothers. In my first meeting with [a] brother, he showed me a long black leather strap and told me through my interpreter: ‘If you are ever caught speaking Indian, this is what you will get across your hands.’” – Manuel, 1963-64
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada — a site of genocide schools.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal. These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio
Russell Eagle Bear, a Rosebud Sioux tribal official, left, speaks during a ceremony at the U.S. Army’s Carlisle Barracks, in Carlisle, PA, July 14. The disinterred remains of 9 Native children who died while attending a government-run school in Pennsylvania were headed home to Rosebud Sioux tribal lands in South Dakota after a ceremony returning them to relatives.