In Canada, Catholic churches are being burned to the ground following harrowing discoveries of mass graves near Catholic-run residential schools.
- Several Catholic churches on Indigenous land in Canada have been burned down in a matter of days.
- The fires were supposedly aggravated by the anger provoked by the discovery of mass graves of Indigenous children near Catholic-run residential schools.
- Indigenous groups and Canadian politicians are now demanding an official apology from the Catholic Church – specifically Pope Francis.
Canadian authorities are currently investigating a number of cases of Catholic churches on Indigenous land being burned down over the past week. The cause of the fires remains unclear. However, they are believed to be related to the recent discovery of mass graves near Catholic-run residential schools for First Nations children, The Mind Unleashed reports.
As per CNN, on Saturday morning, police and firefighters responded to a fire at St. Ann’s Catholic Church on Upper Similkameen Indian Band land. In less than an hour, Royal Canadian Mounted Police were dispatched to respond to a fire at the Chopaka Catholic Church located on land belonging to the Lower Similkameen Indian Band.
Moreover, on June 21, the National Indigenous Peoples Day, police were alerted of two other fires in the southern Okanagan region and on Osoyoos Indian Band land. Furthermore, a statue of the late Pope John Paul II at a Catholic church in Edmonton was splattered with red paint and red handprints, similar to a Saskatoon cathedral that was covered in red handprints and the words “we were children” painted on the doors.
The Pope John Paul II statue outside Holy Rosary Catholic church by NAIT has been vandalized with red paint.
Footprints & handprints around it.
— David Boles (@DavidJBoles) June 27, 2021
The chain of shocking events comes after the chilling discovery of 751 unmarked graves near the site of a former residential school.
The school in question was the Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997. At the time, First Nations children in southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba were forced to attend the schools.
Another mass grave with 215 Indigenous children’s bodies was also discovered by the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Colombia.
Following the grim revelations, Indigenous groups have outcried for a nationwide search for more mass graves. The Lower Similkameen Indian Band said in a statement:
“This is a symptom of the intergenerational trauma our survivors and intergenerational descendants are experiencing, there are supports to help deal with these emotions in a more healing way.”
It was confirmed by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission that large amounts of Indigenous children fled such residential schools or died there, their whereabouts unknown. The same commission has accused the schools of institutionalizing child neglect and for being organs of “cultural genocide.”
Additionally, Indigenous groups and Canadian politicians are now demanding an official apology from the Catholic Church and Pope Francis himself. As per the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, it could occur by the end of the year.