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The indigenous people are hurting.


The indigenous people are hurting. They are mourning their dead children who were taken away from their homes against their will, and forcibly placed in government run residential schools where many of them were killed and buried in unmarked graves. Entire generations were wiped out in systematic genocide. As settlers, we must pay a visit at various memorials that are set up around the country, mainly on residential school sites, provide them a shoulder to lean on, apologize for the atrocious killing of their children, affirm our commitment to fight for justice alongside with them, an ensure that it can never happen again to any community in Canada. That is the least we must do. we urge all our readers to make an effort to visit the sites with their family and make sure to bring along their children with them so they can also understand the pain indigenous communities across Canada are experiencing and so they become part of the change as future leaders. As Muslims it is incumbent upon us that we do the least to absolve ourselves in front of Allah. 

Allah commands us in the Quran, “O you who have faith, stand firm in equity (qist) as witnesses for Allah, even if it were against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. Follow not your desires, so that you may be just (ta’dilu).” Surat al-Nisa’ 4:135

“O you who have faith, stand firm for Allah as witnesses in equity (qist), and let not the hatred of people cause you to not be just. Be just (‘idlu), for that is nearer to righteousness.” Surat al-Ma’idah 5:8

Al Ameen Post editorial board member Shahzad Mansoory did pay visit to very first residential school site on the Reserve Lands of Tkemlups te Secwepemc in Kamloops, BC, where unmarked graves of 215 such victims was first discovered in June 2021. It is only after visiting the site firsthand, Shahzad states, “One realizes the atrocities the indigenous community was subjected to under the residential school act.”

During summer holidays, if you are vacationing in the interior BC, and travelling through Kamloops, BC, Highway 1, Kindly take the Highway 5 Exit towards Jasper, Sun Peaks, and immediately as you get on Highway 5, you will see the highway decorated with 215 crosses bearing children’s clothing, and the notorious residential school on the right side of the highway. It’s a momentous detour everyone must take.  

"Our visit to this sacred ground was not only an emotional journey rather an educational one as well."

"The moment we arrived we felt as if we were surrounded by voices of innocent children seeking justice. It was calm and serene yet emotions within us take over as we approach the notorious building."

Unlike other residential schools that have demolished the buildings, the Tkemlups te Secwepemc band have opted to keep the building and run programs from there by giving the building a new lease on life. 

As Shahzad and his family arrived at the site, two other vehicles pulled in along with them, bearing Saskatchewan plates. It was an indigenous lady who had made a journey from Saskatchewan with her family to pay respect to the dead children of Kamloops residential school. 

It was a pin drop silence. No words could ever do justice to describe how they all felt. The grave site is kept secret from the public. The adjacent soccer field had 215 LED Lamps to mark the 215 victims. There was a large leaf at the memorial site where visitors left food as the indigenous tradition dictates. It could be anything, such as few grains of rice, a candy, bag of chips. 

The elder indigenous lady sat with her family on the ground in a large circle, where she made some prayers with a smoky stick and one by one blessed each member of her family with the smoke vapor. 

We could just watch them and can only vaguely imagine the pain they were experiencing. 

The elder was just staring at the building without blinking as large tears flowed down to her cheeks one by one. 

We finally muster the courage to break the silence. We approached her and said, “As settlers, we are sorry for what happened …” and before we could finish the sentence the elder broke down and cried as if this something, she needed to hear from us. She hugged the younger daughter of as her own child. However, it was not until the older daughter’s hug this elder completely broke down as both cried and hugged tightly each other for an extensive period, as the rest of the visitor stood solemnly, commemorating the victims in tears. 

We could feel that the indigenous sisters appreciated our visit and acknowledged it graciously by saying “Thank you for the visit. It means a lot to us. Please fight for justice for these children.” 

As the elder lady remarked, “Cruel people, so much cruelty in the world.” She told us that her parents were residential school survivors and five of her own siblings were taken away from their homes under the Residential School Act, who never made it back. 

There were plaques, cards from different organizations, associations at the memorial, and only one from a religious group, Islamic Relief that stated, “The Muslim community mourns with you, stands with you and commits to working for truth and reconciliation.” We believe, BCMA as the largest Muslim organization of the province should also pay a visit and affirm their commitment to justice to the Tkemlups te Secwepemc band. 

However, we humbly requests our readers to make sometime to show your support to the indigenous community by personally visiting their memorials and stand with them in solidarity as they seek justice, which unfortunately still seems like a far cry. 


Article Source: ALAMEENPOST