Six things the media got wrong about the graves found near Residential Schools

TNC News

When it comes to the coverage of graves identified near residential schools in three First Nations communities, the legacy media in Canada has done a tremendous disservice to all Canadians — especially First Nations. This panic came to a breaking point over the weekend, when prominent statues were knocked over and at least 25 churches in Western Canada were either vandalized or completely burnt down.

Likewise, the Chair of the Newfoundland Canadian Bar Association Branch said «Burn it all down»

« Sell everything they own in Canada and give it to survivors. » Not to be outdone, NDP MP Niki Ashton cheered on the mob who toppled statues at the Manitoba legislature but calling it «decolonization» and saying there is «no pride in genocide».

What exactly was «discovered»?

There has been incredible confusion over what exactly was discovered, and media outlets have used tremendous liberty in describing what the bands have claimed. JJ McCullough has made this point on Twitter, showing all the various ways the media have described what was discovered. The first nation band leaders say they used ground penetrating radar. So anything you may have read saying these graves belong to children, including some specific claims about the ages of these children, is speculation at this point.

Let me refer back to a National Post story that explains what ground penetrating radar actually does. « What the ground-penetrating radar can see is where that pit itself was dug, because the soil actually changes when you dig a grave. And occasionally, if it is a coffin, the radar can pick up the coffin sometimes as well».

We don’t know whose graves were discovered

So when the second two bands came forth with their own claims, many in the media jumped to the conclusion that these too were the graves of children from residential schools.

«It appears that not all of the graves contain children’s bodies, Lerat said. » That’s quite a leap from the original storyline that these graves belong to children who had died at a residential school.

NOT mass graves

Several media outlets, both in Canada and international outlets like the BBC, Al Jazeera, the New York Times and the Washington Post have recklessly and erroneously labeled these findings as mass graves.

Why is this important?

Mass graves are a hallmark of genocide. It conflates Canada’s policy of forced assimilation through mandatory universal education, with Nazi death camps. Canada’s policy was wrong. It was misguided and in too many cases, those who were responsible for caring for children in this country let them down, and let all of us down.

But that does not put Canada’s residential schools on any level of equivalence with Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. It’s good to see that the Washington Post made a correction on their story.

Cause of death

You can argue that these children didn’t receive proper health care, or that some of their immune systems could’t handle living in close proximity to other children. But negligence resulting in accidental death is quite different from murder, which is what many in politics and the media have suggested. Since this news came out, there has been a near universal assumption in the media that these graves are evidence of Canada’s Holocaust, as if the children had been deliberately killed. Genocide requires intent.

The policy was wrong, clearly. It’s possible these weren’t even unmarked graves. Wooden graves, which were and are still the norm in First Nations communities in Western Canada, erode and disintegrate over time.

This is from a Global News story

The detection of human remains in unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in B. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that ground-penetrating radar found 182 unmarked graves in a cemetery at the site of the former Kootenay Residential School at St. Using a wooden marker at a gravesite remains a practice that continues to this day in many Indigenous communities across Canada. So when we’re talking about so-called unmarked graves, at least in the context of the Lower Kootenay Band, what we are more likely talking about is abandoned graves at an existing cemetery. Mark Twain once said to never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Read more… 

Source: Candice Malcolm | TNC News 

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