Monday, October 25, 2010
Breaking News - Monday, October 25, 2010
Ottawa, Canada - A newly formed International Tribunal has informed the government of Canada that, in partnership with aboriginal people, it will commence forensic excavations at twenty eight mass grave sites near former Indian residential schools across Canada after March 1, 2011, if Canada continues to refuse to prosecute those responsible for the deaths of thousands of children in these schools.
In a letter to Prime Minister Steven Harper today, the Acting Secretary of the six-nation International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State, (ITCCS) Reverend Kevin Annett, gave Canada and its churches four months to begin repatriating the remains of children who died in these schools, and bring to trial those responsible for their deaths.
Rev. Annett stated that his group had been approached and invited to conduct such an inquiry by "very many" aboriginal survivors of Indian Residential schools across Canada.
“After March 1, 2011, our Tribunal will intervene and conduct any inquiry and forensic study which Canada refuses to do, at the invitation of survivors of Indian residential schools” stated Rev. Annett.
“The evidence is there, that many thousands of children died in residential schools. The continued refusal by Canada and its courts to prosecute those responsible is a clear obstruction of justice, and makes Canada an accessory to a crime against humanity.”
On September 29, Judge Murray Sinclair of Canada’s “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” stated publicly that “Thousands of children died in the schools, and their parents were never informed of how they died or where they were buried.”
The ITCCS will be issuing a Public Summons to Prime Minister Harper and other church and state officials to appear before a London Tribunal during the week of April 4-8, 2011, to answer charges of crimes against humanity.
The ITCCS has already issued such a Summons to Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, and six senior Cardinals at the Vatican. The ITCCS consists of member groups from Canada, the USA, Ireland, Australia, England and Thailand.
A copy of the ITCCS letter to Prime Minister Harper is attached.
For more information contact the ITCCS at: email@example.com .
Kevin Annett, ITCCS Acting Secretary
1-250-753-3345 (Canada) www.hiddenfromhistory.org
October 25, 2010
Prime Minister Steven Harper
Government of Canada
Dear Mr. Harper,
I am writing to you in my capacity as the Acting Secretary of The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS) to inform you that as of March 1, 2011, our organization will commence an independent investigation, including forensic excavations, at suspected mass grave sites near former Indian Residential Schools across Canada, if your government continues to refuse to investigate these sites and prosecute those responsible for the deaths of children in these schools.
The statement from your Office in February, 2008 which declared that, although criminal acts occurred in these schools, no criminal charges would be laid, indicates a clear policy by your government to officially exonerate the churches and persons responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children.
Such a policy makes you and your government accessories to a crime under international law, and a pariah body in the Community of Nations.
At the request of survivors of Indian residential schools, our Tribunal will commence our own Inquiry into these deaths as of March 1, 2011, if your government has not done the following:
- Publicly disclose all the evidence held by you and the Catholic, Anglican and United Church of Canada regarding the deaths of children in Indian residential schools, and the location of their buried remains.
2. Begin a public and unconditional process of repatriation of
those remains to their families for a proper burial.
- Commence criminal legal proceedings against the persons and institutions responsible for these deaths.
A copy of this letter has been issued to the world media and major governments.
I hope to receive a reply from you no later than November 15, 2010.
(signed in the original)
Rev. Kevin D. Annett, M.A., M.Div.
Acting Secretary, The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS)
260 Kennedy St.
Canada V9R 2H8
Monday, February 1, 2010
"Olympic Torch Lights Highway of Tears in Journey Across B.C."
However you may feel about the 2010 Olympics, this indicates there is great hope for Canada's future, because some very strong people are ready to bring light to the darkness they have faced. CanWest needs more stories like this.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Why Nothing has Changed for Victims of Church Torture, or for the Victimizers
By Rev. Kevin D. Annett
It’s worse now, because I’m supposed to be healed. They get away with everything and I’m still here on the corner.
Bingo, a homeless native survivor of Catholic Indian Residential schools, Vancouver, August 10, 2009
Here in Canada, I have an odd déjà vu feeling these days that I’m working again on the Intensive Ward of the UBC Psychiatric Hospital, except somehow the patients have taken over.
It’s a feeling that’s reinforced whenever a smiling government or church official announces that the residential school era has “finally found closure” now that a few words have been uttered, and a bit of money thrown around. Somehow, these guys mistakenly believe that their liability and guilt as been diminished by their lawyers.
To stay sane, I stay close to people like Bingo and the many thousands of others who imagine they survived the electric shocks, the beatings, the sodomizing and starvation and tortures that were daily residential school life. It was official policy in Canada to destroy innocent children. Probably one hundred thousand children died at the hands of priests and nuns and other clergy, and their minions, many of whom still walk around free.
“Then I saw the priest take that little baby and throw him into the furnace. I heard a little cry and heard his body go pop in the flames. We weren’t ever supposed to tell.”
Irene Favel saw the burning alive of a newborn baby in the summer of 1944, not in Auschwitz, but in Lestock, Saskatchewan, at the Muscowequan Catholic Indian school. And she described it live on a national CBC television broadcast on July 3, 2008.
After the broadcast, no-one protested, save a handful. No outraged editorials responded with passion or appeal. No church official was ever charged or brought to trial.
In May of this year, an aboriginal woman named Charlotte Stewart and her sister Beryl held a press conference in Vancouver where they described watching their sister Vicky, age nine, get murdered in Edmonton by a United Church residential school employee named Ann Knizky.
“We want the United Church held responsible” said Charlotte to the two reporters who showed up.
“We want this woman brought to trial and the church to admit what happened. Vicky needs a memorial site so she won’t be forgotten.”
The church said all the predictably correct words, in a letter to Charlotte a month later, written only after the Stewarts threatened church officials with a lawsuit. But no-one is being held responsible, and the police are refusing to investigate.
On a national scale, this protection of perpetrators has been guaranteed by the Canadian government’s refusal to bring criminal charges against the churches for their killing of all those children. And the same guilty churches have even helped to choose the “Truth and Reconciliation” commissioners who will pretend to “investigate” the residential schools while promising that no names will be named or wrongdoing reported.
This kind of miscarriage of justice is called “healing and reconciliation” in Canada.
I won’t ask the obvious question anymore, which is how can church and state get away so easily with such a huge and monstrous crime. We know exactly how. The question is not even why might makes right, or how religion can sanctify murder, for history teaches us why.
Instead, what is suddenly confronting all of us, including the Pope and the Queen of England, is the realization that we cannot escape ourselves, or our own history.
We try to evade ourselves, of course, all the time. Many Canadians now really believe that we have somehow made better what happened at our hands to Indians, as if money and words ever heal anything. For every lawyer-crafted “apology”, every bit of hush money doled out anonymously, is designed to do something more basic than protect blood-soaked institutions, and that is simply to continue our own self-deception.
You don’t have to stand next to a residential school survivor, or a United Church clergyman, for more than five minutes to know that nothing has changed, for any of us. The survivor is still as crushed as ever, and the clergyman is just as stupidly self-justifying. And little Vicky Stewart still lies, unavenged and unremembered, in the cold earth.
And yet while nothing really has changed for us, the truth is finally out there, like a pesky virus in our body politic, threatening to germinate in our soul and change us.
Jesus once compared the kingdom of heaven to a tiny mustard seed, a very strange but compelling metaphor, since such a seed transforms any garden into a mass of weeds that chokes out all other contenders. The truth is like that, which is why we fear it so.
Nothing has been resolved, or reconciled, or healed. The churches and governments that planned and carried out horrible crimes against children are still as liable and guilty as they ever were, regardless of “compensation” and court-ordered gag orders. Native people continue to die in droves, and their land keeps being stolen. And it is the simple job of anyone who knows and love the truth to say and show this to the criminal parties, and dislocate them.
I watched with wondrous joy this summer when thousands of Irish men and women crowded the streets of Dublin with their outrage that the church could absolve itself, and be absolved, of its violence and murder against children. And I wait, and wait, for Canadians or Americans to demonstrate a similar clarity and courage.
And yet we can reverse our complicity, simply by understanding, and declaring, that the residential school crimes are not resolved, that the process of justice, cleansing and moral accounting has just begun, and that the churches and governments and persons responsible for genocide must and will be brought to public trial and sentencing.
We did so at Nuremburg, against other people. Can we do it now, against ourselves? And by doing so, find ourselves again?
Kevin Annett is a former minister with the United Church of Canada who was fired without cause in 1995 when he questioned the church over its killing of children in its Alberni Indian residential school. He is the author of two books and the co-producer of an award-winning documentary film on genocide in Canada. He is the Secretary of The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared, and lives and works with aboriginal and low-income people as a community educator and minister in Vancouver, Canada.
For more information contact Kevin at: firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at: www.hiddenfromhistory.org
260 Kennedy St.
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada V9R 2H8
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Letter of Demand to the Moderator, the General Council and Officers of The United Church of Canada
May 29, 2009
We, the members of the Stewart family, make this public demand to you, the fiduciary and responsible officers of the United Church of Canada, regarding the murder of our sister, Victoria Kathleen Stewart, who died at the hands of a paid employee of your church, Ann Knizky, on April 10, 1958, at the Edmonton Indian Residential School, operated by your church.
On or about April 9, 1958, Ann Knizky did strike Victoria on the back of the head with a wooden two by four on the grounds of the said school, and this unprovoked attack caused Victoria to die the next day in the Charles Camsell Hospital .
Miss Knizky was never tried for her killing of our sister. We were not allowed to know the events surrounding her death. Your church officers protected Ms.. Knizky and lied about the murder, by claiming publicly that Victoria had died of "TB meningitis". Your church is therefore guilty of colluding in Victoria 's murder and of obstructing justice.
Under the doctrine of Vicarious Liability, established by the Supreme Court of Canada in relation to Indian residential school crimes, you are responsible as an institution for all of the acts of your employees. Thus, you are doubly responsible for this murder.
We are writing this Letter of Demand to you to put you on notice that we hold you collectively and individually responsible and liable for the murder of our sister Victoria and for all of the loss, pain and suffering we have endured as a family because of Victoria 's death.
Prior to possible legal action against you, we therefore notify you through this Letter of our following demands. We call upon you to do the following:
1. Publicly admit to this crime and take unqualified responsibility for it.
2. Come to us and in front of our entire family, issue a public apology for the murder of Victoria , and explain why you colluded in this crime and suppressed knowledge and evidence of it.
3. Identify the whereabouts of Ann Knizky and help bring her to justice to be charged with murder, along with any accomplices or accessories.
4. At your expense, erect a public memorial to Victoria at the site of her murder, and at her gravesite in Kitkatla, B.C.
5. Issue reparation payments to our family, in an amount determined by us.
6. Present yourselves before a Public Commission of Inquiry and a court of law to answer charges of murder and obstruction of justice, not only regarding Victoria but the thousands of other children who died in your Indian residential schools.
Your church is continually speaking of wanting "healing and reconciliation" with residential school survivors. Here is your chance to actually do so. We want justice and accountability, not rhetoric.
You have thirty days as of this date to respond in writing to these demands. If you fail to do so, or fail to grant what we ask, we will proceed with direct actions against you.
(signed in the original)
Eliza Charlotte Stewarton behalf of the Stewart family and all the relatives of Victoria Kathleen Stewart
c/o The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared
260 Kennedy St.
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada V9R 2H8
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Eyewitness to Murder at Indian Residential School to go Public and Name Killer at Press Conference this Wednesday
Breaking News: May 24, 2009
The sister of a nine year old girl who was murdered at an Indian Residential School in Alberta will go public this Wednesday with an eyewitness account of her sister's death at the hands of a staff member, who will be publicly named.
Charlotte, an aboriginal woman living in Vancouver, will hold a press conference this Wednesday, May 27 at 10:00 am in classroom no. 2, third floor of the Carnegie Centre at Main and Hastings st. in downtown Vancouver.
Charlotte will share evidence at this event, including a recorded statement from another sister, who lives in Terrace, B.C. and who witnessed the killing and knows the identity of the perpetrator.
The sisters and their family will be issuing a letter to the church that employed the perpetrator and that has allegedly concealed the murder since it happened. Their evidence will be submitted to international human rights agencies.
This event is sponsored by The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared, and will be monitored by The International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada and its overseas affiliates.
For more information -
email: hiddenfromhistory@ yahoo.ca
My thoughts and best wishes are with this brave woman. I have known the identity of the accused for about a year now, and it has been difficult for me to sit on that information until she and/or the other eyewitness was ready to come forward - so I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for these women to suffer in silence for so many years.
Naming names is the only way for Canada's First Nations residential school survivors to move forward. The Truth and Reconciliation committee that has been set up does not offer that opportunity; its mandate specifically states that the names of alleged abusers are not to be mentioned by survivors who give their testimony.
Those who are named can defend themselves and clear their names, or (if there is any actual justice in our justice system) face prosecution for their alleged crimes. Many survivors are reluctant to report abuse they suffered to the RCMP or other authorities, because law enforcement was a vital part of the residential school system. Going public with their stories is the only option left to them.
It's time for real truth and reconciliation in Canada.