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Mon Jan 23, 2023, 07:30 PM

Ground penetrating radar helps locate graves of First Nations children.

In Canada, ground penetrating radar can help to locate "anomalies" in soil that indicate possible graves of First Nations children who died at residential schools. The method does not identify actual bodies, only anomalies in the soil that could represent graves. Then further research and investigation are necessary to determine if they are graves.


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Reply Ground penetrating radar helps locate graves of First Nations children. (Original post)
wnylib Jan 2023 OP
niyad Jan 2023 #1
wnylib Jan 2023 #2
Judi Lynn Jan 2023 #3
wnylib Jan 2023 #4

Response to wnylib (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2023, 07:52 PM

1. May it help find these missing children.

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Response to niyad (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 23, 2023, 08:11 PM

2. We should use the same techniques in the US

to locate the dead Native children here, too.

The residential school programs started in the US and Canada copied them.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 26, 2023, 07:01 AM

3. Have read so much lately about Canada's "schools" for stolen children

and had no idea the concept originated in the US! Figures, doesn't it?

Applying the ground penetrating equipment to this cause sounds so right. Here's hoping they will use it well enough to expose everywhere the children were shoved underground, out of mind, after the vicious abuse and deepest disrespect.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 26, 2023, 10:17 AM

4. The residential school program

was started in the US in the 1870s by a man named General Pratt. The first one was Carlisle School for Indians in Carlisle, PA. Pratt said his purpose was to "kill the Indian, save the child" through military style schools that would erase children's identification with their culture, family, and language. With full assimilation of Native children, tribal culture and identity would be obliterated because there would be no young people to carry it on to the future.

With that goal in mind, children were forbidden to speak their own language, follow any Native religious practices, or practice any customs of their Native cultures. Children were required by law from age 5 to age 15 or 16 to attend the schools. If a familiy did not voluntarily send their child, US agents went to the home and forcibly took the child.

Once in the school, the first step was to cut their hair, put them in Euro-American style clothing, and baptize them with a Christian name. They were allowed no personal contact with their families while at the school. (Once they learned to write, they were permitted to send letters in English to their families who could not read them.)

Congress allocated funds to establish the residential schools across the country. Churches and other organizations then applied for the money to establish schools. The funds were for hiring educational and janitorial staff and to provide food, medicine, and clothing to the children. Several church denominations operated the schools - Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, and others.

In reality, the only education that the children got was basic literacy and religious doctrine, along with "lessons" on how "inferior, Native people and cultures were. There was no outside supervision in most schools. Pay for staff was a pittance so the people who took the jobs were usually people who could not get a job elsewhere. Staff was not vetted. Some were barely literate themselves.

Administrators pocketed the funds for themselves and forced the children to do the maintenance and cleaning of the school. The churches then asked for donations of food and clothing. They were praised in local newspapers for the wonderful work they did. Since administrators took the funds and staff received a pittance, the staff took the food and clothing donations for themselves. The "students" got what was left.

Sanitary standards were not maintained so that waste drainage and fresh water sources were close to each other and sometimes mixed. On poor diets and exposed to contaminated water, children's immune systems were weakened and they often got sick from contaminated water. When they died, they were buried and in some schools, were listed as runaways to avoid inquests. Diseases ran rampant from close quarters, malnutrition, contaminated food and water, and no medical treatment.

Sick children were not isolated from healthy ones. They were also not excused from maintenance chores. Punishment for speaking their language or saying a Native ( "heathen" ) prayer was severe - being force fed lye soap, kneeling on hard floors for 48 hours with no food or water, getting locked into closets for one or two days, standing naked outdoors in winter.

Sexual abuse was rampant. Some children were selected for pedophile rings to pass around among Catholic clergy according to one Canadian report. When old enough, children were hired out to families on farms for labor "to teach them job skills." The money went to the school, not the children.

The reason that we hear about Canadian schools and not American ones is that Canada created a "Truth and Reconciliation" program to investigate the abuses and provide limited restoration to survivors and families. The US refused to investigate. But Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has started an American investigation. Record keeping was sloppy and sometimes non existent, making investigations and evidence difficult. Survivors often don't want to talk about it out of embarrassment and not wanting to relive the memories. But Haaland is pursuing the investigations with determination.

I have read some of the reports from the Canadian investigations and the very few reports from survivors and churches in the US.

During that time period, policies and laws in the US made all Native American religious practices illegal for ALL Native Americans, not just the children in the schools. In 1934, a Commisioner of Indian Affairs tried to end those policies, but it was not until 1978, under President Carter, that Native Americans were legally guaranteed the right to practice their own customs and beliefs.

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