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The Discovery Of ‘Mass Graves’ Of Indigenous Canadian Children Was Actually A Massive Hoax

Three years after reports of indigenous mass graves triggered the torching or vandalism of 85-plus churches, no graves have been found.


Three years ago, a major story broke in Canada that seemed to confirm every left-wing prejudice against Christians imaginable: A mass grave containing the remains of indigenous children was supposedly discovered on the grounds of what had once been a government boarding school run by the Catholic Church.

It turns out the whole thing was a hoax, a modern-day blood libel against Christians that ended with at least 85 Catholic churches across Canada destroyed by arson, vandalized, or desecrated. Canadian political and civil society leaders cheered on this destruction — and then doled out hundreds of millions of dollars to investigate the mass graves and create a “support fund” for indigenous people.

To this day, no human remains have been recovered at the site of the alleged mass grave, despite nearly $8 million spent looking for them.

You won’t hear the corporate press report on this story now, but in the summer of 2021, it was everywhere. And no wonder, it had all the elements of a just-so story. The mere historical existence of these former boarding schools, which operated from the 1860s to the 1990s, remains a source of outrage among liberal Canadians. The residential school system, as it was called, often separated indigenous Canadian children from their families and communities, forcing them to attend chronically underfunded government schools, the purpose of which was to assimilate and acculturate indigenous Canadians into European Canadian society.

The history here was bad enough — a racist outrage, as far as Canadian liberals were concerned. But then came news of the mass graves. The Catholic priests and nuns who ran the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia had, it seemed, callously discarded the corpses of hundreds of dead schoolchildren in mass graves on the school grounds. Or so said the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, which claimed that ground-penetrating radar had revealed the remains near the site of the former school.

In a healthy society, an explosive claim of this sort would have been subject to at least some critical scrutiny. But Canada, like the U.S., is not a healthy society. Major outlets like CNN, NPR, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation simply regurgitated the claim as a verified fact, couching their coverage in the most hyperbolic terms possible. CNN called it an “unthinkable” discovery. The Washington Post declared the story had “dragged the horror of Canada’s mistreatment of Indigenous people back into the spotlight.” 

Canadian politicians followed suit. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered flags to be lowered to half-mast and demanded Pope Francis come to Canada and apologize (which he did, a year later). Trudeau said the discovery “is a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history.” British Columbia Premier John Horgan said he was “horrified and heartbroken.” The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said it was “a large scale human rights violation,” and called on Canada and the Vatican to investigate.

Canadian tribal leaders went further, saying the purported discovery was evidence of “mass murder of indigenous people,” and an “attempted genocide.” They compared the priests and nuns who ran these schools to Nazis.

Amid this escalating rhetoric came the arson. Churches across Canada, most of them Catholic and some more than a century old, were burned to the ground in retaliation. Not a few of the targeted churches belonged to indigenous congregations. Many of them were beautiful, historic churches. One was a Coptic Orthodox Church — never mind that the Coptic Orthodox Church had no historical connection to Canada’s residential schools. Churches that weren’t completely destroyed were vandalized, many of them with the words “charge the priests” scrawled in red paint.

In many cases, local law enforcement had no comment. Trudeau said he understood the anger driving the attacks. Harsha Walia, the executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, tweeted, “Burn it all down.”

It was pretty obvious at the time that this was all a moral panic, ginned up by an indigenous tribe and cheered on by liberal elites who hate Western civilization in general and Christianity in particular. As my erstwhile Federalist colleague Chris Bedford reported at the time, the mass unmarked grave at Kamloops, and the hundreds of other such graves supposedly discovered at the site of other former schools that summer, were not what the outraged left said they were.

In almost every case, they weren’t mass graves, but individual graves, and they were located in cemeteries. “The reason the graves are ‘unmarked’ is that the wooden crosses used to mark them and the fence that kept them safe decayed,” Bedford wrote. “In other words, people have found that an old cemetery contained bodies.” It’s worth noting that they used wooden crosses because the government refused to pay for headstones. It’s also worth noting that these cemeteries don’t just contain the graves of schoolchildren but also of priests and nuns and other members of these communities. Indeed, many of these old cemeteries with unmarked, individual graves, were detailed in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission report released nearly a decade ago.

So there was no cover-up and no mass graves, just a complicated and nuanced history. But it’s a history Canada’s ruling political and media elite aren’t interested in exploring honestly.

Today, nearly three years after dozens of churches across Canada (and a few in the U.S.) were destroyed, there is not a shred of physical evidence for the claims that kicked off the hoax, despite millions of dollars spent on fieldwork, records searches, and securing the residential school grounds at Kamloops.

How could this be? After all, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation had claimed ground-penetrating radar revealed mass graves at Kamloops. Chief Rosanne Casimir said at a news conference, “It’s a harsh reality and it’s our truth, it’s our history. And it’s something that we’ve always had to fight to prove. To me, it’s always been a horrible, horrible history.”

Asked recently about the $8 million allocated to uncover the truth about the mass graves, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation declined to comment.

The whole thing, it turns out, was a rank fiction — a blood libel cooked up to peddle historical grievances, provoke a moral panic, and demonize the Catholic Church and all Anglo Canadians. It worked. And now, three years later, you won’t hear a word from the politicians, media outlets, and liberal activists who perpetrated it.

Understand this dark episode for what it is: a battle in an ongoing cultural war against Western civilization — a war the West is losing.

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