Indigenous investigators in Alberta say they’ve found evidence of genocide at the site of a former Indian residential school.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports, they’ve released a preliminary document into missing children and unmarked graves at the former Blue Quills Residential School.
The Aciniwyn Opaspiw Society says its investigators have uncovered physical and documented evidence – and their report includes allegations that a so-called disciplinarian who worked at the school from 1935 to 1942 was seen killing Indigenous children.
The society said information came from intergenerational survivors whose parents witnessed the homicides.
The accused died in 1968.
Leah Redcrow of the society also says many children died after they were forced to drink unpasteurized milk contaminated with bovine tuberculosis.
Redcrow says it was deliberate because school administrators were not dying and they didn’t eat the same food as the children.
Redcrow says ground penetrating radar was used on the site last autumn.
“When it was accidentally excavated, the excavator found a bunch of little skeletons piled on top of each other, and actually the GPR also confirmed that it’s only (eight inches) below the surface of the ground. We don’t know exactly how many children are in the mass grave yet, but we do plan to excavate the mass grave as our investigation progresses. “
Redcrow says work is still underway to determine how many children disappeared. She says her group is actively investigating the deaths of at least 200 residential school children who never returned home.
Over the past year, hundreds of unmarked graves have been discovered at former residential school sites in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, the government-funded, church run schools.
The schools were operated across Canada from the late 1800’s to the late 1900’s.
About 150,000 Native children were taken from their families and forced to attend the schools.
Thousands were abused. Many died.
Another hearing is expected in the next couple of weeks on a controversial election policy bill in North Dakota.
The plans call for requiring proof of citizenship for residents to vote.
As Mike Moen reports, Native voters are concerned it adds more burdens to the many voting challenges they already face.
The sponsor of the bill says there are situations where people feel they are qualified to vote despite not holding citizenship. But opponents say there have been instances where people’s status has been questioned at the polls and they weren’t offered a chance to correct it through options such as provisional ballots.
Meanwhile, Collette Brown, a member of the Spirit Lake Nation, says a proposal like this only adds to the burdens Native American voters often face.
“Native voters often have to overcome geographical, remote, isolation [and] poverty.”
Brown offered that testimony during a hearing last week, noting those are some of the many factors that leave Native voters feeling disenfranchised.
The bill is now referred to the Senate State and Local Government Committee. The committee chair says another hearing is likely later this month or in early February.
Chickasaw classical composer Jarod Tate is preparing for a Carnegie Hall performance in March featuring Chickasaw astronaut John Herrington.
Apollo Chamber Players will present Tate’s “MoonStrike”, which is narrated by Herrington.
Tate is an Emmy-winning composer and Herrington is the first enrolled tribal citizen to go to space.
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