The West Must Address Exhumed Residential Schools With Compassion

Burial Mounds of the “Adena Hopewell” Culture, Greater Dayton, Ohio. The West has buried the culture and truth of its First Nations in favor of political banter. This impacts validation of current western racial debates. 

By Rachel Brooks

Opinion, Analysis 

July 11, 2021 

A dangerous precedent self-sabotages Western foreign human rights policies. Western criticism of the multiple ethnic cleansings in 20th century Eastern Europe stands under a white, hot spotlight. The frequent critical politics of genocide and colonization in the Middle East are under magnifying glasses of every foreign eye. 

The West exposes its unrelenting history of convenient glaze-over of the Indigenous ethnic cleansings of Post-Elizabethan expansionist history. 

The left-leaning West has heated criticism of their political opponents. As policies such as “Critical Race Theory” dominate domestic American politics, the world looks on. The West is hypercritical of perceived injustices both foreign and domestic. What has it done to show genuine sorrow, compassion, and reform for its sins? 

Westerners led the charge of outcry against Israel during a renewed conflict with the Hamas-majority-controlled Gaza earlier this year. The West has waved the finger in the faces of its foreign counterparts as well. The ongoing race war between Armenia and Azerbaijan serves as a prime example of western political speak-before-think. There are many feet being placed in many mouths as politics argue, but true acknowledgement of wrongs yet to be rectified escapes the West’s way of seeing itself. It is painfully lacking in self-awareness and graces and thus trips before the foreign counterpart. 

They in the West are even so oblivious as they cry out against failing human rights and the tolerance for colonizers and autocrats across the Globe. If challenged by it, domestically right-leaning politicians go directly for their opponents and skip over the bloody, bubbling cauldron seething beneath them. They accuse them of beign virtue signals, and the left retorts with “monsters” and yet the social ill at the core goes unaddressed. 

The Western world must address its failings over First Nation Rights

Residential schools in Canada continue to unearth decades of conveniently buried children. Now the West braces for broadside with the reality of what it has done to its Indigenous peoples. It could conveniently hide behind political jargon. The media could begin to spin narratives to suit today’s agenda. Indigenous peoples of Canada and the United States have sounded outcry. The nations in Michigan recall the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School where at least 12,000 Indigenous children faced reeducation and other federal government programs, CBS News wrote. 

The West has a deep-seated problem to address before it ever sounds another outcry over Middle East politics or ongoing dueling historiographic records in the Caucasus over war-time ethnic slaughter. 

It cannot make its priority political argument race and expect to win. It cannot because the West has failed before it has even started as the leader of racial justice movements. The Western world cannot begin from a position of strength when hundreds of First Nations children lay in their graves beneath schools in Canada.

PBS Newshour recalls First Nation testimonies of these horrors. The families of the deceased children remember the darkness where they resided. They never knew what happened to their children. Bodies disappeared without a trace. These were not the murders most foul by one of the media’s sensationalized serial killers. There was no sensation to milk from pupils used up and thrown away as if they were broken dolls. 

A survivor of Canada’s First Nations residential schools, Heather Bear, called the discovery of these children’s bodies a “new revelation that is not new.” 

Heather Bear remembers the “haunting” reality of Marieval School, recalling a cemetery in the playground beside a swingset. She described the horrors and their impact, noting that hundreds of years would not be enough. 

These graves are only those that bear a stone. With ground-penetrating sonar, the depths give up their dead. More than a thousand dead. 

The West responded as expected. The Guardian wrote that ministers had attributed the mass graves on campuses to “dark history” rather than addressing at the level of power ongoing injustice in Canada. Ethnic cleansing still bears the soap stains of Western self-righteousness. There is also the stench of vomit. The West regurgitates talking points rather than down criticism of its flag-waving virtue but failure to digest the need for justice.

The press is vomit-soaked itself as the chamber echoes with the politicization of a human travesty. It uses jargon to call out colonial government propaganda. The press focuses on the Catholics that established the majority of these schools, while narrative gloats over those non-native Canadians turning their back on the Church in response.

This focus boosts reports of Catholic priests criticizing paltry sums raised for residential survivors. 

The West is blind to the problem within these echo-chamber political yarns. There is no amount of finger-pointing that can account for the children who lay dead in the soil of Colonized lands. The press may roll on its yarns, but the present-minded world has lost the West in translation. The Western world has self-sabotaged its virtue messages. 

Press, Pay-Off, and Digging Up The Dead Is Not Enough 

Until the West guarantees that the “Indian Law” is fair and just and promotes First Nations internal governance to the same degree of function and justice as each States’ ambition, how can the West argue against ethnic oppression or right of autonomy worldwide?

The eyes are on the 117th Congress to make good on these promises and to celebrate them with the same zealous pomp as they swing the finger in the faces of all political opportunism.

This does not appear to be the case.

Rather than push to the forefront the demands and the triumphs of the American geographic First Nations, the press talks “voter ground zero” and uses electoral challenges as narrative against Republican opposition.  The First Nations rights are completely looked over in this scramble for another stab, another jab, another political one-up of the opponent. There is no real meat or meaning to these debates, and no ground real need is supported by them.

 Until Canada’s government addresses the wellsprings of blood and violence on these school grounds, how can Canada’s Foreign Minister argue a single thing regarding Israel and Palestine’s conflict? 

What will the United States find as it searches for the dead on its residential schools? What argument can they give, who use the politics of race, creed, and religion to further the fanfare between the left and the right?

They suppose that throwing pennies into the Void they have created will bandage the wound. California will pay the sterilization victims of its eugenics as it leads the race debate. The problem with this is the mindset of merely paying for the consequence of eugenics somehow permits them to move forward with their loudly critical race priorities that are decidedly lacking in graces.

There is no horror, no shame, no humility to check the vulgar ranting. They cannot or conveniently do not see that eugenics are but another process in the complete annhiliation of millions of people. Until they attempt to fathom what American life would have been like if the First Nations were among us in their full honor, they will never have remorse. That thousands of voices are silent from our political debate is lost on the modern American trendy race debate political commentator.

That whole nations have disappered, their crest fallen into history, their shield removed from the doorpost, is lost on the Western mind. Who would the United States have been if it was a United States and Nations? What would our union have been if it had embraced federations with tribes and living in peace on this vast continent rather than what reality gives us?

Allow this truth to sober you. We will never know. 

America’s lack of alignment begins and ends with an “Indian” question. That question is not as those who pushed Manifest Destiny supposed it to be. That question begins “What if…?” The question has no answer. Yet, let us imagine for a moment as we observe other regions of the world where the Indigenous and the urbanized live with stable relations. We can imagine that these Americas would have been beautiful indeed, more beautiful than they ever were without them, if all of its Nations lived in harmony and equal rights under its colors.

Investigating burial places is not enough. In-state tuition is not enough, and in truth, it is more an insult atop serious injury to pretend as if the narrative can cover a multitude of sins. 

Genuine Compassion is Lacking In These Debates

Better for the West to shelf its political appropriations for genuine compassion. Citizens must be seen as people and not farmed for these injustices used as cannon fodder for narrative war with political opponents. 

If it is compassion that builds nations, then a genuine examination of the life of the dead in each grave is in tall order. Names, faces, dreams, and all must rise from the grave along with the bones. Historical excavation is in order, reviving sites such as the ancient burial mounds of Ohio and dead languages resurrect to living tongues.

 Public common knowledge must brace itself to learn depth and degree that the United States appropriated the tribal societies of the First Nations.

Only by developing a genuine concern for its people will Western society ever redeem its fallen face in the eyes of the rest of the world. Then, it can join the discussions it inserts itself into in the turmoil of Middle Eastern society or shards of the failed Soviet construct left behind in the regions it loomed over. The Western world must swallow its pride and look its history in the eyes and treat it with the dignity it demands of the world. Until then, this social justice argument disappears into vainglory.