We need more information

With the continuing media coverage of the Kamloops finding of what is believed to be a grave site of 215 children, I feel a need to speak.

Of course the discovery is most disturbing. Nothing in this letter is intended to downplay the grief that this discovery has caused.

But before bandying about terms like “genocide”, “atrocities” and “mass murder” in relation to this discovery, it would be well to wait for the investigation to find out the facts. Abusing children is bad enough, but murder is quite another thing. It is, in fact, unfathomable to contemplate.

Back in the days of the residential school in question from 1890 to 1969 there were several pandemics that ran through populations with insufficient medications nor the vaccines we have available today. Could this explain a large number of burials?

In 1918 - 19 the Spanish Flu took out between 50 and 100 million people world wide. Canada was not spared. There were several other strains of flu between 1957 and 1968 that claimed many lives. Tuberculosis is another potential cause of many deaths.

One only has to look at the millions of deaths from COVID now to see the results of a runaway disease without a timely remedy. When people are dying in large numbers, it was deemed best to bury the remains as fast as possible to prevent further spread of disease. Could this explain unmarked, mass graves? Records have yet to be found - but that does not mean they do not exist. Why families were not notified is a very good question.

There is no doubt evil was perpetrated upon innocent children in that time and there is no excusing such abominable behaviour. But, is the media justified in the kind of reporting that has lead - without solid information that would come from a thorough investigation - to the finger pointing, further damning of churches, and quite amazingly the knee jerk suggestion to cancel Canada Day.

As for apologies... Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 gave a solemn apology to a delegation from the Assembly of First Nations for the “deplorable treatment of children in residential schools”. Until the facts are known on this latest finding, we cannot expect the current Pope to do anything more that express his distress over the deaths.

A thorough investigation of the findings is clearly needed. Until such time, it is hoped that some perspective might prevail.

Jacinta Jay

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