June 13th, 2008 18:30 EST
Canada appologizes to natives
A historical moment has taken place in Ottawa on June, 12th: Canada`s Government says sorry for the suffering caused to the native people. In a formal declaration, the Premier Stephen Harper explained, that the separation of children and their parents was a sad chapter of Canada`s history ".
An approximate number of 150`000 children have been sent to christian boarding schools for over more than a century, with the purpose of being christianized. Everytime they talked in their mother tongues, their attendants would beat them. Furthermore, they suffered hunger and some of them even sexuall abuses. Almost all of these children lost contact to their families, as well as their culture. As a consequence, many of them suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse in their later life.
The Canadian Government pays the 80`000 victimes, who are still alive, a compensation of 5 Billion US Dollars.
Harper said that the Government acknowledges that the assimilation policy was wrong and appologizes to the affected.
200 alumi of boarding schools were invited to the ceremony in the Parliament. Many others have gathered in front of the building and have sparked a ceremonial fire.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine, who was wearing a feather headdress, said that the declaration "testifies nothing less than the accomplishment of the impossible." Fontaine, who was one of the first to come forward with his story of abuse and urge for an apology declared:
"For the generation that will follow us, we bear witness today. Never again will this House consider us the Indian problem just for being who we are," "Finally, we heard Canada say it is sorry."