Vandalism is linked to anger following a number of discoveries of children’s graves at boarding schools for indigenous peoples recently, writes BBC.
On Friday, protesters in the provincial capital of Winnipeg, Manitoba, cheered the fall of the statue of Queen Victoria. A small statue of Queen Elizabeth II nearby was also demolished.
Last weekend, several Catholic churches were set on fire, also linked to the discovery of mass graves in boarding schools. Many of these schools were run by the Catholic Church.
Trudeau understands, but denounces
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemns church vandalism and burnings and calls them unacceptable.
– I understand that there is anger, both against the federal authorities and against institutions like the Catholic Church. It is in place and perfectly understandable given the shameful history. But instead of destroying, we should unite and work for reconciliation, Trudeau said at a news conference on Friday.
The toppling of the statue coincided with Canada Day, which is an annual celebration of the country’s founding by British settlers in 1867.
Assimilation of Aboriginal children
Over 150,000 Indigenous Canadian children were taken from their families and forced to attend residential schools in the 19th and 20th centuries. The goal was to forcibly assimilate them into society.
It is estimated that at least 6,000 children died while attending these schools. They were often placed in dirty, poorly constructed houses without much heating.
Over the past month, more than a thousand unmarked graves have been discovered in at least three boarding schools. Canadian Indigenous groups have called on authorities to investigate all former Indigenous schools in the country.
“Web specialist. Social media ninja. Amateur food aficionado. Alcohol advocate. General creator. Beer guru.”