Abuse of native children

Amal Chatterjee
10 min readJun 6, 2021

Source : Google photo of an abused Native Australian child

Synopsis : It is sad that the so called religious people who demand respect are the ones who abuse the children and women in need. There is a worldwide condemnation of the clergy, priests and nuns who have mistreated and continue to mistreat the poor, the young and the vulnerable in the name of helping them. This story should shock you if you are a decent person and have compassion for the abused people anywhere

The native population of many countries have suffered in the hands of the white people for centuries because of racism and discrimination based on racism. There was a time when the entire country of the United States was occupied by numerous tribes of Native Americans who are still wrongly called Indians. They had lived for thousands of years and developed a strong and very rich culture of their own that was unique and beautiful.

Most of the tribes lived as nomads depending on hunting and gathering wild fruits and grains so they constantly moved from place to place to find game and other things for their sustenance. They were not settled farmers although there were some tribes that stayed put and grew crops to feed themselves.

Then came the scourge of white people who forcibly took over the land and killed off or chased away the Native Americans thus denying them hunting so they started dying off not only from hunger but also due to the diseases introduced by the white immigrants like small pox and sexual diseases to which the Natives had no immunity.

Later the natives were given barren places to live on called Indian reservations where they still live and try to survive selling the handicraft and jewelries they make for the tourists but alcoholism and drug abuse remains a problem. The domestic violence and suicide rate remains a major concern because once proud Native Americans feel neglected and marginalized seek a way out of their poverty.

Source : U Tube video on the abuse of Native American children in the USA

The worst affected were the children who have suffered in the hands of whites who were taken away from their loved ones to dismal schools and convents where they were mistreated , sexually violated and beaten into submission to make them “ civilized “ They were forced to learn English and wear clothes alien to them. They were punished for speaking in their own language and practice their culture so these unhappy children grew up under pitiful conditions and many tried to escape but were caught and brought back to their prisons.

Source : U Tube video on the abuse of Native Australian children

In Australia the Native Australian children were so maltreated and traumatized to be separated from their parents and their communities that it scarred them for life.

When you forcibly separate the children from the communities where they were born into strange places called reformatories, they lost all touch with their homes and their language and culture and with it all the knowledge they could have acquired from their parents and others to survive.

They were taken away by the whites who wanted these children to be “civilized “by teaching them to wear western clothes and speaking only English. Imagine the pain the parents suffered from this treatment because they never understood what was wrong with their culture, their language and their food or clothes. They had lived this way for thousands of years until the white colonialists arrived to set up their penal colonies for the convicts they brought in from England.

With the convicts came the missionaries who saw it as their duty to bring some religion to the convicts and civilize the Native Australians using harsh methods by making them good Christians in the process.

The true horror of these reform schools run by the missionaries trickled out slowly over the years to expose the brutality these children suffered in the hands of their keepers. They were sexually violated, beaten and even starved to force them into submission so these innocent children suffered.

The worst story recently came out of Canada where hundreds of remains of children of Native Americans were found. They were the victims of serious abuse over a long period of time but it has only come to light now that has shocked the world. How many more such horror stories are waiting to be told is anyone’s guess.

Canada mourns 215 children after remains found at indigenous school

Source : Google photo of Canada’s national flag flies at half-mast after the remains of 215 children were discovered in a mass grave at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School site (Reuters photo)

Canada flew its flags at half-mast Sunday in mourning for 215 children whose remains were discovered on the grounds of a former boarding school set up more than a century ago to assimilate indigenous peoples.

Source : U Tube video on the abuse of Native American children in Canada

“To honor the 215 children whose lives were taken at the former Kamloops residential school and all Indigenous children who never made it home, the survivors, and their families, I have asked that the Peace Tower flag (in Ottawa) and flags on all federal buildings be flown at half-mast,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter.

Several municipalities, including the economic metropolis Toronto, announced they would also lower their flags.

The discovery of the children’s remains, some as young as three, sparked strong emotions throughout Canada, particularly in the indigenous communities.

A specialist used ground-penetrating radar to confirm the remains of the students who attended the school near Kamloops, British Columbia, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc tribe said in a statement late Thursday.

The Kamloops Indian Residential School was the largest of 139 boarding schools set up in the late 19th century, with up to 500 students registered and attending at any one time.

It was operated by the Catholic church on behalf of the Canadian government from 1890 to 1969. Some 150,000 Indian, Inuit and Metis youngsters in total were forcibly enrolled in these schools, where students were physically and sexually abused by headmasters and teachers who stripped them of their culture and language.

Today those experiences are blamed for a high incidence of poverty, alcoholism and domestic violence, as well as high suicide rates, in their communities.

Ottawa formally apologized in 2008 for what the commission later termed a “cultural genocide” as part of a Can$1.9 billion (US$1.6 billion) settlement with former students.

“I’ve said before that the residential schools was a genocide of our people. Here’s just another glowing example of that genocide in practice: undocumented deaths of children,” the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, said Sunday on the news channel CTV.

Bellegarde noted there was still much work to be done to identify the remains, find their families and examine the sites of other residential schools.

He said the federal government “does have a responsibility to make sure that these resources are in place to get the answers.”
Ceremonies to honor the young victims took place or were to take place throughout the country. About 100 people gathered Sunday in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, near Montreal. Participants placed children’s shoes and toys on the steps of the Saint Francis Xavier church as a tribute to the victims. ( Wikipedia )

Source : U Tube video on the abuse of Irish children in Tuam, Ireland

You have perhaps also heard of the hundreds of children who died and were secretly buried in a place called Tuam run by the Catholic nuns in Ireland. The nuns ran a place where unwed mothers were given shelter but their illegitimate children were treated as garbage so they died of malnutrition, hunger and disease. It is not known if the nuns killed them but surely they helped them die young because of their conviction that they were the product of sin.

Mass grave of babies and children found at Tuam care home in Ireland.

Excavations at site of home for unmarried mothers and their children, where it is alleged up to 800 children died, uncover human remains

Source : Wikipedia- Human remains have been discovered in underground chambers at the site in Tuam, Galway. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

A mass grave containing the remains of babies and children has been discovered at a former Catholic care home in Ireland where it has been alleged up to 800 died, government-appointed investigators said on Friday.

Excavations at the site of the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway, have uncovered an underground structure divided into 20 chambers containing “significant quantities of human remains”, the judge-led mother and baby homes commission said.

The commission said analysis of selected remains revealed ages of the deceased ranged from 35 weeks to three years old. It found that the dead had been mostly buried in the 1950s, when the facility was one of more than a dozen in Ireland offering shelter to orphans, unmarried mothers and their children. The Tuam home closed in 1961.

The home, run by the Bon Secours Sisters, a Catholic religious order of nuns, received unmarried pregnant women to give birth. The women were separated from their children, who remained elsewhere in the home, raised by nuns, until they could be adopted.

The shrine erected in memory of the up to 800 children allegedly buried at the site of the former home. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

The discovery confirms decades of suspicions that the vast majority of children who died at the home were interred on the site in unmarked graves, a common practice at such Catholic-run facilities amid high child mortality rates in early 20th-century Ireland.

The Irish government in 2014 formed the commission following the work of a local Tuam historian, Catherine Corless, who found death certificates for nearly 800 children who were residents at the facility but burial records for only two.

Source : U Tube video on the abuse of Irish children in Tuam, Ireland

“Everything pointed to this area being a mass grave,” Corless previously told the Guardian. She recalled how boys playing in the field had reported seeing a pile of bones in a hidden underground chamber there in the mid-1970s.

The government’s commissioner for children, Katherine Zappone, said the findings were “sad and disturbing” and promised that the children’s families would be consulted on providing proper burials and other memorials.

“We will honour their memory and make sure that we take the right actions now to treat their remains appropriately,” Zappone said.

Source : Photo of Catherine Corless. Patrick Bolger Photogrraphy

Under the Freedom of Information Act, Corless requested Galway county council’s records on the home from 1925 to 1961. She was refused.

But she was given documents from the 1970s, including an official map of the present-day estate the council built on the site.

“They obviously didn’t see the importance,” said Corless. “There is an area across the map marked ‘burial ground’,” she says. “First, the houses were built, around that area. Finally a playground was built on part of the burial ground itself.”

It is a fact that the Catholic Church in many countries ran the schools, reformatories and places of incarceration for the unfortunate women and children who suffered there without any recourse to justice. The nuns who ran these places had no compassion for them so they treated them brutally in the name of paving their way to purgatory but what was the sin committed by the innocent children?

There are numerous stories of abuse done to the underage and children by the Catholic priests in many countries that has only lately been recognized by the Vatican that has now promulgated laws to stop such abuses but they still do not talk about punishing the guilty and restitution to those abused. Many such abusers are still a part of the church pretending that nothing has happened. The Protestant churches are not blameless either .

The sad part is that the Vatican until now has not allowed its clergy to be brought to any civil court to face trial so protects the guilty. But aren’t the governments in many countries guilty of not doing enough to protect the children and all those who have suffered? Saying sorry is never enough. The guilty people must be punished for the crimes they have committed and the victims if still alive must be compensated and given a fair chance of living in peace somewhere.

But I would like to know how a victim who has been thus abused and traumatized can live in peace anywhere. Can such scars be healed by money and an apology? Can the souls of all those children who died of abuse and neglect be appeased? Can anyone have faith and respect for those who have abused their power this way? I would definitely like to know.

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Amal Chatterjee

I am the village bard who loves to share his stories.