Indigenous people interconnectedness in US, Canada transcends borders
Journalists reporting on Indigenous people in the US and Canada say they aim to highlight the lives of these communities in different ways.
Through their reporting on Indigenous people in the US and Canada, Monitor reporters Sara Miller Llana and Henry Gass shed light on the living conditions of these people, aim to convey their voice, and refute the common stereotypes about them by telling their stories.
Throughout her experience in covering this topic, Miller Llana pointed out that "from Alaska to Nova Scotia to Navajo Nation, so many issues are exactly the same."
Her colleague, Gass, considered that "the idea that there’s this whole community, a society that exists in both countries and transcends the border in a lot of ways, is really interesting."
"There aren’t very many things you can zoom out on like that," he added.
According to Monitor, "Indigenous society is inevitably influenced by the decisions of Canadian and American governments."
"But in many ways, Indigenous peoples have always lived outside these political structures, separated by philosophy but also by force," the website indicated.
"Many members of First Nations and Native American tribes do not see themselves as a part of either country," it underlined.
Miller Llana revealed that "a lot of Indigenous people in Canada don’t even believe in the idea of Canada, so they certainly don’t believe in a border between the U.S. and Canada."
"It’s not just that Indigenous peoples see themselves as not belonging to the U.S. or Canada. The issues are the same, but we silo them," she explained.
According to Gass, the two reporters aim "to draw attention to the interconnectedness of Native issues in both of these countries," adding that it’s about "how they’re connected, but also how they’re different, how they’ve perhaps diverged, how they vary from one side to another and between different tribes and different First Nations."
More than 1,300 unmarked graves uncovered since last May
It is noteworthy that in late March, Indigenous delegations met and pressed Pope Francis for an apology for church-run residential schools in Canada.
Since last May, more than 1,300 unmarked graves have been uncovered at church-run schools attended by Indigenous children in Canada as part of a government program of forced assimilation. Systemic violence affected 150,000 indigenous children between 1883 to 1996.
The Catholic Church in Canada apologized in September to the indigenous community for a century of abuse at Church-run residential schools set up by the government.
In January, Canada announced its biggest settlement of $31.5 billion to reform its discriminatory child welfare system and compensate Indigenous families who had their families broken up.
$20 billion will be allocated for First Nations children removed from family care and enrolled in state residential schools to assimilate them.
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission labeled the almost-century-long legacy a "cultural genocide". Children were beaten for speaking their native language, which violently compelled the Natives into cultural isolation, then genocide.
500+ indigenous children died in US-run schools
Similarly, a report from the US Department of the Interior revealed in May that more than 500 Native American children died in US government-run boarding schools at which students were physically abused and denied food.
The report found that "approximately 19 Federal Indian boarding schools accounted for over 500 American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian child deaths."
"The Department expects that continued investigation will reveal the approximate number of Indian children who died at Federal Indian boarding schools to be in the thousands or tens of thousands," it mentioned.
According to the report, there are marked or unmarked burial sites at more than 50 locations, out of a total of more than 400 that made up the Federal Indian boarding school system between 1819 and 1969.