by Barry Weisleder
Socialist Action and Indigenous activists demanded “De-fund the Police” at Toronto cop headquarters on June 3 in the wake of the sad news out of Kamloops, British Columbia.
Socialist Action stands in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples who are grieving and re-traumatized due to the discovery of an undocumented grave at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School (IRS) on the territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. Buried there are the bodies of 215 children and youth killed at this IRS during its operation. And it is only the tip of the iceberg. We demand immediate implementation of all recommendations of the 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in particular the six specific Calls to Action (71-76) under the heading “Missing Children and Burial Information.”
In the 1996 report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, survivors of residential schools described horrors inflicted on children and youth by IRS personnel. Inter-generational trauma from these institutions continues to torment Indigenous individuals, their families and communities. As a working class organization inclusive of many refugees, BIPOC and nationally oppressed people, we sense the high toll of genocide. We strongly condemn all contemporary forms of Indigenous child apprehension and abuse inflicted by Canadian governments, including through child welfare agencies, social services, healthcare, and policing.
The Canadian state program of genocide against the First Peoples of this land is ongoing. For decades, Liberal and Conservative governments alike delayed the resolution of Indigenous land rights while allowing the territories to be occupied and exploited by corporate and colonial interests. They continue to: favour use of Indigenous territory for toxic waste disposal; use “modern treaty” methods to circumvent inherent Indigenous rights; battle in court against equity resourcing for First Nation child welfare programs; fail to provide clean drinking water to dozens of communities; and fail to hold accountable the RCMP and other police for their involvement in cases of so many missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit and trans people.Socialist Action calls on the Canadian Labour Congress, the NDP, and the entire workers’ movement to act in solidarity with residential school survivors, to demand expropriation of the assets of the churches involved in Residential Schools, and seizure of the wealth of the giant resource corporations, the proceeds of which to go to fund the needs of Indigenous people and to shift development towards a green, democratic, planned economy in harmony with nature. Let’s be clear: there can be no Reconciliation without Restitution.
The CLC and the NDP should further demand full implementation, before the end of 2021, of the six crucial TRC recommendations regarding the burial grounds of all the disappeared IRS children. No more excuses — it’s time to act.