Government Given Deadline for Return of Bodies
Vancouver - The group representing survivors of Indian residential schools on Canada's west coast announced today that it will hold civil disobedience actions and disruptions during the February 2010 Olympics near Vancouver if the Canadian government and mainline churches have not announced a timetable for the repatriation of the remains of the thousands of children who died in these schools.
The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD), which held high-profile protests and occupations of churches in Vancouver and Toronto during 2007 and 2008 and compelled the Canadian government to issue an apology for the residential schools in July, 2008, has given Canada and the Roman Catholic, Anglican and United Church of Canada until February 15, 2010 to announce when and how they will return for a proper burial the remains of Indian children who died under their care.
As part of this deadline, the FRD has also demanded that the government and churches make public the names of those responsible for the deaths of these children, and indicate by what judicial mechanism the guilty or the responsible institutions will face trial.
Nearly half of the 150,000 children who attended Canadian Indian residential schools died as a result of conditions in the schools. (Globe and Mail, April 24, 2007) In April, 2008, the FRD released to the media and police a list of twenty eight mass graves near former Indian residential schools where many of the children are alleged to be buried.
"We will halt church and government operations during the Olympics if that's what it takes to get the bodies of our relatives back" said Carol Martin, a Nishga native woman and FRD spokesperson.
"The world has to know that our people are still dying from the genocide Canada and the churches inflicted on us. We've waited long enough for justice."
For more information contact the FRD at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-753-3345 (Canada)
And see the website: http://www.hiddenfromhistory.org/