A Senate committee recommended that the federal government ban "residential school denialism" yesterday, without defining the term.
According to Blacklock's Reporter:
“The committee heard about ongoing denialism about Residential Schools and that some individuals deny the negative effects on generations of Indigenous peoples,” the Senate Indigenous peoples committee wrote in a report. “Of real concern to the committee is the small group of vocal individuals who try to undermine survivors’ accounts of the hardships and abuse they experienced at Residential Schools.”
“Denialism serves to distract people from the horrific consequences of Residential Schools and the realities of missing children, burials and unmarked graves,” said the report Honouring The Children Who Never Came Home. “The committee is of the view that education and advocacy can effectively combat denialism.”
This is the 14th report by the committee, which was authorized by the Senate on March 2, 2022 to "examine the federal government’s constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and any other subject concerning Indigenous Peoples."
"Denialism serves to distract people from the horrific consequences of residential schools, and the realities of missing children, burials and unmarked graves," the report stated. "The committee is of the view that education and advocacy can effectively combat denialism."
The committee recommended that "the Government of Canada take every action necessary to combat the rise of residential school denialism," without an indication of what would fall into this category.
In May 2021, the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation band in Kamloops, British Columbia, reported the discovery of the buried remains of 215 children who were students at the Kamloops Residential School. Nationwide outrage ensued following the reminder of a dark chapter in Canadian history.
The claim became the catalyst for divisive outrage and a national shame that likely led to the vandalism and burning of over 60 Christian places of worship across the country in the summer of 2021.
However, to date, no remains have been disinterred at the Kamloops site. The story was the subject of a Rebel News documentary called Kamloops: The Buried Truth, where Drea Humphrey and Matt Brenner explored what was really discovered.
Funding of $7.9 million was allocated to perform a search of the Kamloops site, in addition to $3.1 million for a national Residential Schools Student Death Register. A Residential Schools Missing Children Community Support Fund, which expires in 2025, also received $238.8 million in budgeted funds, according to Blacklock's.
According to the committee, the work of investigating and protecting potential burial sites could take up to two decades to complete.