Treaty 7 Chiefs Horrified by Canada’s Terrible Crime of Starving Children at Indian Residential Schools, In the Name of Science
Calgary, Alberta – Treaty 7 Chiefs call on Canada to honour its apology to Indian Residential School Survivors with the most recent shameful injustice coming to national light that it perpetrated cold-blooded deprivation of food and medicine to First Nations children at residential schools in the name of nutritional experiments.
“The facts have long been known. Children were stolen from their families, endured unspeakable abuse, robbed of their language, culture and spirit, underfed and forced into service as guinea pigs in nutritional experiments initiated by the Canadian government,” says Grand Chief Charles Weaselhead. “The study referred to was published in 2006 and illustrates another terrible crime perpetrated on First Nations. Today we pay tribute and support those who were the unwilling and unknowing subjects of horrendous biomedical experiments that took place in those horrible schools.”
A study published by Ian Mosby in May this year added fuel to the fire, revealing that from 1942–1952, the government conducted “nutritional experiments” on Native children in the infamous residential schools, where milk rations were halved for years, essential vitamins not issued, and dental services withheld as gum health was a measuring tool for scientists and any care would distort research.
“When we talk about honouring its apology to the survivors of Indian residential schools, we call on Canada to release all documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission related to this dark chapter in our shared history and to breathe life to the words spoken by the Prime Minister on that important day in 2008,” says Chief Weaselhead.
“These abuses are evidence that the federal government should let us determine our own paths and allow us to exercise our rightful place in Canada to develop our own education policies and legislation. Federal policy-makers have to learn from these key lessons of the past, as they prepare to impose the First Nation Education Act in September 2014.”
Since 2012, the federal government has been crafting First Nations education legislation. The legislation would create a framework “allowing First Nations to establish their own education systems.” The government sent a letter to First Nations chiefs earlier this month outlining a "blueprint" of its planned legislation.
The draft version of the bill proposes standards for "school-success plans" for each First Nation school; suggests following up with annual reports; and promises governance "options" for communities in accordance with treaty rights. But some Chiefs are already opposing the blueprint, citing key problems with it.
It’s difficult knowing the government deliberately tried to destroy First Nations. It’s not hard to believe, but no one can excuse the deliberate starving of children and the deliberate abuse of Indigenous peoples in the name of colonization. Canada and this government has to be accountable and dispel the myth that the past is the past. We must continue to strive for true transformational change through the recognition, respect and reconciliation of our Treaty and Inherent Rights. We have to look at Indian Control of Education and address the huge funding gaps that prove barriers to success”
For more information, please contact: Brent Scout, Grand Chiefs Liaison at (403) 539-0350 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.