EDMONTON, Alberta (ChurchMilitant.com) - Churches across Canada are being vandalized over a questionable media narrative about the mysterious deaths of Native American children in Catholic schools.
Anti-Catholic violence spread Monday to Edmonton, Alberta, where a statue of Pope St. John Paul II outside Holy Rosary Polish Catholic Church was painted with red handprints and footprints.
One Polish-Canadian parishioner, Sarah Kurowski, expressed sympathy for the vandals: "I don't view this as an attack on my Polish culture. I view this as an outcry for help." Kurowski, who works with native youth, said the Polish community was very upset.
At least five churches on Indian land were set on fire over the weekend in British Columbia — including St. Ann's Church in Hedley and Lower Similkameen Indian Band church, also called the Chopaka church, in Cawston.
Chief Keith Crow of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band said he believes the two fires were suspicious and perhaps connected. He also noted several in his tribe were extremely distraught about the targeted acts of violence.
"Some of our members attend these churches. They just had a service a couple of weeks ago," Crow explained. "If you’re hurting at this time, please reach out to somebody and make the call. There is a lot of upset people and it’s … heartbreaking."
He noted the Chopaka church was over 100 years old.
Media are hailing these attacks as an attempt to expose the abuse of Canada's Indian tribes — following the discovery of hundreds of bodies near two Catholic-run Indian residential schools. Critics, however, are blaming disinformation by mainstream media for stoking violence.
Some reports allege there were unmarked mass graves filled with children. Others suggest a substantial number of the children were killed, as opposed to dying of natural causes. The former is outright false and the latter hasn't been proven.
Abuses did occur, and eyewitness testimonies still exist today of the horrible abuses native peoples endured. The Canadian government forcibly removed roughly 150,000 Indian children from their families — establishing these Catholic residential schools to assimilate into Western culture the children they ripped from their homes.
The Cowessess First Nation, 95 miles east of Regina in the Saskatchewan province, announced on Thursday the discovery of 751 graves at a cemetery near the former Marieval Indian Residential School — which operated from 1899–1997.
The chief of the Kamloops Indian Band confirmed reports that 215 dead childrens' bodies were found on May 27.
"We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify," Chief Rosanne Casimir expressed.
Dr. Scott Hamilton, an anthropology professor at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, worked from 2013–15 identifying residential school gravesites across the country. Hamilton's full report — made public only after Chief Casimir's announcement — provides details that counter some of the media narrative.
He explains that students were, in fact, buried periodically over the course of roughly a century, not thrown in mass graves. Dr. Hamilton also noted that students often died of diseases like tuberculosis and were buried individually in simple graveyards near the schools.
"Some children might have contracted disease at home prior to attending school, but others were likely infected within crowded, often unsanitary and poorly constructed residential schools," the report states.
Hamilton appears to assert this was not an act of disrespect but was due to the federal government providing the schools no funding to send the bodies home or conduct proper burials.
These graves are called "pauper's graves," and were marked with simple wooden crosses that rotted away over the decades — meaning they were not "unmarked" as media reports claim.
Despite this, it seems the faulty reporting could lead to more attacks — turning the tragedy of children's deaths into cultural warfare between the Catholic Church and traumatized native tribes that are actively being deceived by the corporate media.