Americans love a good Holocaust novel. We drink our moderately priced wine, cover ourselves in the weight of a down comforter and dive into what we think is an entirely different world. Aghast in our beds, we try to wrap our minds around those evil Germans. We shake our heads and shed our tears laced with a hint of relief that our past is not in these pages, forgetting the trail of atrocities this country was built upon. Someone else’s crimes always overshadow our own.
The unmarked graves of 215 children were recently discovered in Kamloops, British Columbia, on the grounds of a former boarding school for Canada’s Indigenous children. Shortly thereafter, 751 remains were found in Saskatchewan at the Marieval Indian Residential School. Given the 130 such schools in Canada, it may be safe to assume these will not be the only sins coming to the surface, and with America’s eerily similar deculturation of Native peoples, our reckoning cannot be far behind.