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Somewhere, there is a little Aniishinaabe child
who has cried so much his/her throat is sore. There is no calming the fear and
panic. He or she keeps saying over and over and over again "I want to go home"
Or "I want my mommy" at first loud and then to the point of anger.He or she can't
eat because of the fear. Insistent and heartbroken, he or she will never be able go
When I was six years old, I was in the Children's Village in Pontiac Michigan.
It was an orphanage. Every night I, (along with MANY other kids) would group
together in a room filled with 10-12 bedsand every night i would
to sleep hearing the sound of Kids crying asking when "Mommy or Daddy" are
coming back to get them?or "When can I go home?" As a result of this, at the
age of six, I started sleeping with a pillow over my ear to drown out this sound.
I still sleep with a pillow over my ear. I am 37 years old. The Government of
Canada and several private native groups announced this last month that they are
releasing a list of 28 mass burial grave sites of Indian children. These children were
the unfortunate ones who were removed from their homes in an attempt to 'civilize'
them at residential schools across Canada. (Common you know the story!)
These mass burial sites potentially contain thousands of bodies of Native children
who were forcibly removed from their families. There are reports of children
being buried between the walls of some structures as well as cemeteries that hold
the bodies of children killed using the electric chair and flogging [to severly beat
with a rod or whip).
Countless other bodies are unaccounted for due to the fact that they were inciner
ated in the school furnaces (the same furnaces that were used to heat the school).
The people who committed these atrocities acted on behalf of a Christian God. They
believed that a Christian God had given them the power to act in the best interest of
these "heathens and their Godless ways" by showing them the ways of a civil and
enlightened people. It is apparently okay to provide warmth and security for little
Native children by burning their brothers and sisters in the furnaces of indifference.
An individual approached me the other day and told me story of a young Native
mother who had given birth to a baby, only to have a government agency remove
the baby within hours no doubt in order to provide it with a 'better life'. There is
another story closer to home that tells of a mother bringing her baby in to Nimkee
to get her child health care, only to be met by the State of Michigan who in her
words: "pried my baby from me, got into a car and drove off."
Dante Alighieri wrote "The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in
time of great moral crisis, maintained their neutrality." Ancient history is not so
ancient; some wounds and habits are alive and bleeding. Hell is not just a town
in Michigan; Heaven cannot be found on any of my maps and children still cry to
go home. Put a pillow over your ear, maybe it will go away.