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Program Information
 FMA on CKUT 
 
 Interview
 Rev. Kevin Annett
 Joe Broadhurst  
 For non-profit use only.
The allegations are scary. The testimonies are numerous. The evidence has at least one Canadian receiving death threats.
Genocide in Canada's Native Residential Schools?
by Joe Broadhurst


The allegations are scary. The testimonies are numerous. The evidence has at least one Canadian receiving death threats.

A new film documentary set to make its way across Canada, fresh from winning Best Director of an International Documentary at the NY Independent Film Festival, seeks to expose the systematic genocide of aboriginal people in government-run "residential schools" between the early 1900s up until 1996.

Unrepentant: Kevin Annett & Canada's Genocide tells the story of Reverend Annett's struggle to find the truth. And the truth isn't pretty.

Based on his 1998 book, Hidden from History: Canada's Holocaust, a story implicating Canada's top Christian Churches, the RCMP and top-level government officials, emerges through over 300 testimonials, church and government documents and media reports.

In the Beginning

By 1909, the Canadian government had set up over 120 "residential schools", mostly in Western Canada. In that same year, an inspector hired by the Indian Affairs Dept., Dr. Peter Boyce, returned from inspecting several schools. He reported a staggering 50% death rate among those interred in the facilities. He stated that the "conditions were being deliberately created in our residential schools to spread infectious diseases". He was quickly fired for the honesty of his report.

The Canadian government gave its response. On April 12, 1910, Indian Affairs Superintendent Duncan Campbell Scott wrote: �It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by habitating so closely in these schools, and that they die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is geared towards the final solution of our Indian Problem.�

And so the systematic procedure of forcing healthy kids to sleep and play with children infected with tuberculosis became policy. And policy grew with time.

In the 1920s, changes were made to the Indian Affairs Act which made it mandatory for all aboriginal kids over 7 years old to attend the schools, all year long. According to Rev. Annett, children much younger were also part of the program. Stories of the RCMP "cleaning out" entire villages of their children and shipping them away are heard in the testimonies.

In 1929, Principals at the schools were given legal guardianship over every child that entered the school. Reverend Annett says this laid the way for school staff members to commit atrocious acts against these children, answerable to no one.

Collusion

According to Rev. Annett, over the next sixty years, the Churches who ran the schools, the RCMP who enforced their attendance and the Canadian government who sanctioned their existence, are responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths or disappearances.

From the Independent inquiry comes:

According to a former Indian Affairs official,

"A sort of gentlemens" agreement was in place for many years: the churches provided the kids from their residential schools to us, and we got the Mounties to deliver them to whoever needed a fresh batch of test subjects: usually doctors, sometimes Department of Defense people. The Catholics did it big time in Quebec when they transferred kids wholesale from orphanages into mental asylums. It was for the same purpose - experimentation. There was lots of grant money in those days to be had from the military and intelligence sectors: all you had to do was provide the bodies. The church officials were more than happy to comply. It wasn't just the residential school Principals who were getting kick-backs from this: everyone was profiting. That's why its gone on for so long. It implicates a hell of a lot of top people." (From the Closed Files of the IHRAAM Tribunal, containing the statements of confidential sources, June 12-14, 1998)

Ritual beatings, electric shocks (using actual electric chairs in some cases), forced sterilization, malnourishing and starvation, rape and sexual abuse all emerge in this tale of ethnic cleansing.

Again from the inquiry:

Evidence exists that active collusion from police, hospital officials, coroners, Indian Agents and even native leaders helped to conceal such murders. Local hospitals, particularly tuberculosis sanatoria connected to the United and Roman Catholic churches, served as "dumping grounds" for children's bodies and routinely provided false death certificates for murdered students.

Irene Starr of the Hesquait Nation, who attended the Alberni school between 1952 and 1961, confirms this account.

"Many girls got pregnant at the Alberni school. The fathers were the staff, teachers, the ones who raped them. We never knew what happened to the babies, but they were always disappearing. The pregnant girls were taken to the Alberni hospital and then came back without their babies. Always. The staff killed those babies to cover their tracks. They were paid by the church and government to be rapists and murderers."

Acknowledgment

In 2000, Health Canada admitted that during the 40s and 50s, the schools did perform medical experiments including denial of dental treatment, vitamins and deliberately malnourishing the children.

However, in 1999, all documents related to the schools were sealed by the Canadian government. In testimonies, staff were seen throwing boxes of documents into the sea as the program came to an end.

For his effort, which included allowing indigenous people to come up to his pulpit and describe what they had seen and been through, he was summarily fired from the United church. He refuses to leave his effort there though. And over the past 13 years, he has compiled a very long list of death threats, all documented online, against him and those involved with the inquiry.

Rev. Annett believes that it's time to bring these truths out into the open to finally begin a process of healing for those who suffered under this state-run program.

"Unrepentant: Kevin Annett & Canada's Genocide" will be shown in various cities and towns across Canada over the next few months and will be in Montreal around March 15th. To read and hear more on this issue, please visit Hiddenfromhistory.org

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00:22:05 English 2007-02-02
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