On Thursday, June 24, 2021, leaders of several indigenous groups in Canada announced that investigators utilizing ground-penetrating radar had located the bodies of at least 600 children in unmarked graves. The location was the former Marieval Indian Residential School, about 85 miles east of Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.
The news and the numbers were staggering, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was “terribly saddened” to hear about the discovery and that his country “will tell the truth about these injustices.” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe added that the entire citizenry of his province mourned the discovery of the unmarked graves.
Now, first, for all my fellow products of the Texas education system, a Canadian prime minister is sort of like an American president. Think of President Biden as a fossilized version of Trudeau.
Second, a Canadian premier is sort of like an American governor, so think of Greg Abbott as a vapid, wheelchair-bound version of Moe.
Granted, neither Trudeau nor Moe are ideal Dudley Do-Right material, but that’s OK. Biden is no Dudley Do-Right himself, and Abbott is no Lone Ranger. Oh, and Saskatchewan is not where sasquatches live.
So, 600 dead indigenous children, and not only are Trudeau and Moe talking about it, but they’re expressing remorse and Trudeau is pledging to get to the bottom of it.
Is there something in the water in the Great White North?
Here in the Not-So-Great Lone Star South, our “premiers” are not “terribly saddened” by news of unmarked mass graves, especially if they are full of indigenous bodies or the descendants of slaves. And they have no interest in telling the truth about injustices, much less allowing the truth to be taught in our schools.
The Slocum Massacre is an excellent example.
The Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997, was run by Catholic nuns and the students lived on-site. Most of the graves had gravestones originally, but they were removed by Catholic officials. This is a travesty and an injustice, no question, as is forcing indigenous children to leave their families to attend white Christian schools, but the Texas version is arguably worse.
In the Slocum area of Southeastern Anderson County, there are also unmarked graves that contain the final resting places of hundreds of victims.
Unmarked mass graves.
Unmarked mass graves where the bodies of innocent men, women, and children are piled up like animals in a perpetual state of unrest. They never had individual resting places, much less their own headstones. And did I mention that one of the mass graves is also located at a school?
At the Marieval Indian Residential School in the Saskatchewan province of Canada, the bodies located in unmarked graves were interred over a number of decades. At the Silver Creek School playground in the southeastern corner of Anderson County (right off County Road 1208) in Texas, the bodies located in an unmarked mass grave were dumped there over a long weekend, a long weekend of white slaughter and bloodshed.
The bodies of the indigenous schoolchildren in Saskatchewan were apparently interred in a designated area, originally marked with headstones. The bodies of the men, women, and children who died in the Silver Creek section of the Slocum area were buried in a large pit under the Silver Creek School playground — because the grass and dirt above a playground is always disturbed, and the perpetrators of the Slocum Massacre knew that Texas Rangers looking for victims of the atrocity would be a lot less suspicious of disturbed earth at a playground than anywhere else.
A few years back, George Avery, director of the anthropology/archaeology lab at Stephen F. Austin University, offered to run his department’s ground-penetrating radar equipment over the area that Silver Creek School playground formerly sat, but the white owner of the land refused to allow descendants of the victims of the Slocum Massacre (or George Avery) access. And when confronted by Constance Hollie-Jawaid, the chief spokesperson for descendants of the victims of Slocum Massacre, the white owner bragged that there were up to 50 bodies located under the former playground but that they belonged to him because they were on his land. He said the bodies were his “property” and there was nothing Hollie-Jawaid could do about it.
Now, I realize Greg Abbott is no Dudley Do-Right, but Hollie-Jawaid and many of the descendants of Slocum Massacre victims are his constituents. And the Texas state legislature did pass a House Resolution acknowledging the Slocum Massacre in 2011. And Hollie-Jawaid did compel the Texas Historical Commission to approve a historical marker commemorating the Slocum Massacre in 2015 and have it placed and dedicated in the Slocum area in early 2016. And, hell, a few weeks back, Forrest Gump mentioned the Slocum Massacre in a New York Times editorial.
How come Greg Abbott has never mentioned the Slocum Massacre?
How come Greg Abbott hasn’t inquired about the unmarked mass graves in the Slocum area or ordered an official investigation?
How come our governor behaves more like a Snidely Whiplash than Dudley Do-Right? l
This editorial reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the Fort Worth Weekly. The Weekly welcomes all manner of political submissions. They will be edited for clarity and factuality. Please email Editor Anthony Mariani at firstname.lastname@example.org.