7 Quick Takes: Residential Schools and Other Things Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Residential school take #1. I’ve been horrified in recent weeks by the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the Indian residential school in Marieval and the discovery of the remains of 200+ kids at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. I mean, these are the kids who went missing for decades, and families were told that they “ran away”. Yeah no, they didn’t. One of the most horrifying things for me to see is that Marieval was functional until 1997. In other words, THESE SCHOOLS EXISTED UNTIL I WAS A SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL.

I also just found out while reading about the situation that there’s another cemetery of 182 unmarked graves near Cranbrook, BC that was found a few days ago.

— 2 —

Residential school take #2. This is all hitting me hard because I used to judge speech meets in north-central Montana, and one of the teams was from Browning High School. Browning is located on the Blackfeet reservation. Most of the students are Native-American as are the coaches. The reservation looks like the ghetto of a major U.S. city because of the poverty there. It’s not surprising that there’s a lot of crime, alcohol and drug use, and poverty there given what the government has done to many Native-American tribes. The high school is beautiful, however, and the kids were amazing competitors. We got to know some of the kids and the coaches in the 3 years we judged speech meets, and I got to judge two of them AT the high school. Their team fed everyone (judges, kids, and parents) an amazing lunch (Indian tacos and blueberries), and they stocked the judges room with every kind of snack food and soda imaginable. For the awards ceremony, they had a cultural program aspect. I’m really bummed that I missed the hoop dancers one year, and they’d have an elder from the tribe doing an honor song every year. Miss Heart Butte (in her special tribal dress) would hand out the awards.

When I hear about the mass graves at the residential schools, it’s these speech and debate kids that I am envisioning. Many members of the tribe were sent away to Chemawa Indian School in Oregon among others, and I only found out about it while reading the obits in the Great Falls Tribune few months ago. While Chemawa isn’t a horrible place (at least today), I’m really wondering if some of the blight I saw on the Blackfeet reservation is due to the abuse done in some residential schools that tribal members attended.

— 3 —

Residential school take #3. Something that I think is meaningful was the Calgary City Council going to the Treaty 7 First Nations and asking them the city should do. The Treaty 7 leaders told them to make Canada Day an occasion to actually *TALK* about what happened so that there could be an ability to move on together as a nation. The fireworks went ahead at night, but they were in honor of the lost children instead of celebrating Canada’s confederation.

My friend Dave posted a picture of his family on Canada Day, and I was heartened to see that the flag was at half-staff per Justin Trudeau’s instructions.

— 4 —

Residential school take #4. As much as I’m talking about Canada’s horrible history, the same thing happened in the USA, and I haven’t seen a lot of talk about it except for some statements by Deb Haaland, the Secretary of the Interior. She has created the Federal Indian Boarding Schools Initiative to investigate the damage done by them further and to see if there are unmarked graves. I’m really happy that President Biden chose her as the Secretary of the Interior for many reasons and this is one of them.

One of the things I’m going to be doing is learning more about the issue in the USA as well as learning more about the tribes in my area. My church is actually reaching out to one of them to get to know them, so that is going to be part of it for me.

— 5 —

Heat wave. We survived the weekend where we had temperatures of 104F. We thankfully have air-conditioning, and we used all the tricks we know from not having A/C in my childhood home. We are pretty lucky because a lot of homes don’t have it, and people were having severe problems with it as a result. I think the HVAC industry is going to be jumping for a few months…

— 6 —

Progress. On Tuesday, I managed to tell my depression to take a flying leap, and I got my desk cleaned off as well as a corner of my room decluttered. I feel proud of myself even though it’s kind of pathetic.

— 7 —

Mount Rainier’s Osceola Flow. This is my latest YouTube rabbit hole. It’s fascinating that a lahar from Mt. Rainier created the bedrock on which the city of Tacoma is built.

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