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Prof UWindsor calls for Kamloops discovery to be investigated as ‘crime against humanity’

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WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.

A law professor at the University of Windsor says that while it is good that the province has pledged millions of dollars to identify and commemorate residential school burial sites, more action is needed to show that senior levels of government have taken full responsibility for their role in the residential school system.

Her main call for action, she said, was for the discovery in Kamloops to be investigated as a “crime against humanity” with those involved in the residential school system accused of genocide.

On Tuesday, the provincial government announced it is allocating $ 10 million in funding for a three-year space to identify, investigate and commemorate Ontario residential school burial sites.

Late last month, Tk’emlps at Secwpemc First Nation in British Columbiare revealed that it discovered what are believed to be burial sites of more than 200 children’s remains near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Professor Beverly Jacobs, who is also a member of the Mohawk Nation from the Six Great River Nations, said the province’s promise to find and honor those who died in residential schools is a good thing, but it will wanted to see more being done to “correct” the past.Jacobs explains in the clip above.

Meanwhile, the federal government has allocated $ 27.1 million to assist indigenous communities in identifying unmarked burial sites in former residential schools.

The six Grand River nations in Ontario have applied for more than a third of that fundingto search for potential child remains on the grounds of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School attended by Jacobs’ ancestors.

“If this is a step towards reconciliation, then it must be said that before Canada must accept responsibility for the genocide,” she said.

Tap on the player below as Jacobs explains why her grandmother refused to recognize her Mohawk legacy after leaving the residential school system.

Beverly Jacobs says her elders were forced to eat rotten oatmeal. By the time they left the residential school system, its ancestors were afraid to continue their Mohawk legacy. 1:06

Although not represented at Tuesday’s press conference, there were also calls for the Catholic Church to be involved in the reconciliation process.

Pope Francis has expressed “closeness to traumatized Canadians” over the discovery of Kamloops but has not offered an official apology for the church’s role in the operation of many residential schools in Canada.

For the Jacobs, not only does the Catholic Church need to offer that official pardon, but it must be done so publicly. Listen to more of her comments in the video below.

Beverly Jacobs says a formal apology would be a clear path to reconciliation with Indigenous people across Canada. 0:56

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