The IRSRG is pleased to announce the publication of Grave Error: How The Media Misled Us (and the Truth about Residential Schools), edited by our Chairman, Dr. Thomas Flanagan and the Dorchester Review’s Dr. C.P. Champion.
After the announcement by the T’kemlups First Nation of the “discovery” of unmarked graves at Kamloops, many politicians, Indigenous leaders, and media have thrown aside balance, restraint, and caution, turning truth into a casualty.
Public discussion of Indian Residential Schools issues is now filled with the following assertions, all of which are either totally false or grossly exaggerated:
- Thousands of “missing children” went away to residential schools and were never heard from again.
- These missing children are buried in unmarked graves underneath or around mission churches and schools.
- Many of these missing children were murdered by school personnel after being subjected to physical and sexual abuse, even outright torture.
- The carnage is appropriately defined as genocide.
- Many human remains have already been located by ground-penetrating radar, and many more will be found as government-funded research progresses.
- Most Indian children attended residential schools.
- Those who attended residential schools did not go voluntarily but were compelled to attend by federal policy and enforcement.
- Attendance at residential school has traumatized Indigenous people, creating social pathologies that descend across generations.
- Residential schools destroyed Indigenous languages and culture.
The flight from truth makes true Reconciliation impossible. Why will Canadians want to extend the hand of friendship to Indigenous people who continue to call them criminals and murderers? Why will Indigenous people want to engage in mutual cooperation with people whom they have been led to regard as criminals and murderers?
Getting beyond the “Grave Error” and recovering a more balanced picture of residential schools is the only road to genuine Reconciliation.
This excellent collection of first rate articles is the place to start.