Barry Kennedy could not go to school with the joy that children go to school with. He is a native of Canada. He is now 62 years old. When he was five years old, he was forced to attend a boarding school. The same thing happened with his sister. It’s not that his parents sent him to that school on purpose; The then administration forced them to go to such schools.
At that time there were some residential schools for Indigenous children in Canada. Hundreds of residential schools were run with the aim of erasing the culture, language, family and communal ties of the adivasis. A woman named Ursulin Redwood (69) was also forced to go to such a school. In their description, a horrible picture of those schools has come up.
An Al Jazeera report described how horrible these schools were. The country’s indigenous people have spoken to the media about the situation at that time. Barry Kennedy says when he was eight years old, someone was buried on the school grounds. And he was forced to cooperate in the burial.
This is the push to witness death; Barry Kennedy had to go through a more terrifying experience at that time. He said some night watchmen were on duty to watch the children after they fell asleep at night. And these night watchmen used to sexually abuse them.
Ursulin Redwood’s experience is even more terrifying. He said his cousin Joanie lived in the same room with him as well as in bed. He was 9 to 10 years old then. In the morning, a monk would wake everyone up with a sound. One morning he couldn’t even wake up by pushing Joanie. He had the idea that Joanna might not feel well. That’s why he went to the bathroom to wash his face. When he came, he saw that Joanie had not yet awakened. While studying and doing church work that day, Ursulin thought his sister was very ill. But later he learns that Joanie is dead.
In these indigenous schools in Canada, children were kept under strict surveillance. Various tortures were carried out. There are even allegations against the school authorities for killing ignorant children in a careless manner. And these dead children were buried in the school premises. Relatives do not get their information. Although these schools have been closed down in stages, there is an impression of horrible torture in and around their fields. Several graves have been identified in and around the school grounds this year. And those who have survived, they are carrying that painful memory.
Al-Jazeera reports that Barry Kennedy visited the Mariival School area in Ku Apple Valley in Saskatchewan province in mid-September after receiving news of the grave’s identification. When he went to this school, the field was full of children’s bones and skeletons. Seeing this scene, he broke down in tears. Barry was forced to study at this school from the age of 5 to 11. Last June, 651 graves were identified a few meters away from the school.
Mariewall School is one of the 139 Indian residential schools in Canada. One and a half lakh children of the indigenous community have studied in the schools. The first such school was started in 1831. Later the schools were closed at different times. The last school was closed in 1997. Thousands of indigenous children have died in these schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) estimates that the number of students killed is between four and six thousand.
The TRC demanded লাখ 1.5 million to mark the graves of children who died while in these schools. The incident took place in 2009. But at the time, the Canadian government refused to provide the funds. The Adabasis then raise funds themselves and hire expert teams. These graves were then searched using underground radar. In late May, an indigenous group belonging to the First Nation first announced that they had recovered the remains of 215 children. They were buried on the grounds of Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. The remains of the children were later recovered from the area near several other residential schools.
Barry gave a description of how these children were taken to school. He said he was at home with his parents and seven siblings. At first he heard his father screaming. Then he looked at the door and saw some people standing there. They are a representative of the Canadian government, a police officer, a clergyman and several representatives of a residential school.
Barry’s mother then gathered the children and led them to the bedroom, forbidding them to leave. Barry’s parents then argued with the men. Barry heard screams and cries from inside. The parents wanted to save their children from those people. However, the last was not saved.
Barry said his parents were also forced to attend these boarding schools. They understood how painful it was to be there. So they did not want the children to face the same situation. But in the end, they had no choice but to send their children to these schools. Otherwise they would have to go to jail. Barry said he and his three sisters were taken away in a car that day.
At first, the sisters were stopped in front of a church-like building and taken inside the building. It was a girls’ residential building. Barry was then taken to the boys’ residential building. A priest took him out of the car and took him inside. Barry tried to flee in fear, but did not succeed.