- About the widespread and cunningly hidden crimes against humanity that were perpetrated against innocent First Nation children over the past century in residential schools across Canada.
- Your Crime is Not Diminished by Time, or Apology
Gary G. Kohls, MD, Evergreene Digest
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Reverend Kevin Annett is an internet acquaintance of mine from Canada. He is an ex-United Church of Canada pastor (no relationship to the United Church of Christ in America) who was scandalously driven from his small rural parish in western Canada by higher-ups in his church.
Rev Annett has taught me a great deal more than I ever wanted to know about the widespread and cunningly hidden crimes against humanity that were perpetrated against innocent First Nation children over the past century in residential schools across Canada. These residential schools, identical in most aspects to the infamous mission schools in the US, were managed, with financial subsidization by the Canadian government, by three Christian church denominations in Canada, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the United Church of Canada.
What happened to Rev. Annett is the subject of an acclaimed documentary film as well as a feature film that is currently awaiting a marketing partner. The documentary film is titled “Unrepentant” (meaning that the three churches have not admitted their guilt, have covered-up the evidence of the crimes, have shielded the clergy and other leaders who were involved, and have not repented). Nor have the churches offered compensation or testified as to where the bodies of tens of thousands of disappeared children have been buried. Excavations of suspected sites of mass graves are proceeding as this column is being written.
The impoverished and grieving families of the disappeared and abused children have been denied justice repeatedly. They have been ignored, demeaned, bullied and stone-walled by the Crown and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). They have had their traditional lands stolen from them and sold by the churches to multinational timber companies, with none of the money coming to the tribes. Unable to afford the legal representation that the churches, seeking to protect their reputations at any cost, were able to obtain, they have repeatedly lost case after case in the courts. Being denied justice repeatedly, the families continue to sink lower and lower into despair, poverty, homelessness, joblessness, mental ill health and understandable use of mind-altering drugs and alcohol.
That is, until the courageous Rev. Kevin Annett took their side.
Annett was fresh out of seminary, with a wife and two children and eager to preach the gospel when he was assigned to a small parish in Port Alberni, British Columbia. Observing that there were no First Nation church members in an area with a First Nation’s population of 30%, he started asking why. The answers he received were initially unbelievable to him, but they were so disturbing that he felt compelled to reach the truth of the matter, even when the church urged him, then threatened him, to forget about the stories of the genocide he was hearing and ultimately knowing he was hearing the truth What pastor Annett had stumbled onto, is the subject of his acclaimed documentary, ”Unrepentant”, and his website.
Kevin Annett is planning on being in the Duluth area on a speaking tour this early December 2011. Events are being planned for Duluth and the Fond du Lac Reservation.
Below is a recent essay written by Rev. Annett, who, along with a multitude of First Nations’ victims of the mission and residential schools in North America, is seeking truth and justice and offering a path towards true reconciliation between the perpetrators and the victims of their violence. For understandable reasons, a local tribe has named him “Eagle Strong Voice”.
Your Crime is Not Diminished by Time, or Apology, 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
- Why Nothing has Changed for Victims of Church Torture – or for the Victimizers