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Exposing the truth

In the most sensitive way, the ground has to be opened; the hallowed ground, the sacred ground, the ground we all stand on.

For more than a year, we've listened as report after report tells us what many have known for decades, what many have feared for years, and still more have had to cope with for generations. Are there bodies buried on the grounds of the nation's residential schools? Equipment says there are anomalies, shadows, possible grave-like features — and now, most recently, 'reflections of interest.' We need to know for certain. Fears have to be laid to rest or faced head-on.

The answers aren't going to expose lies; they will bring the truth. No matter what is found, the tragedies are real. The lives that have been torn — and continue to be torn — by a system of deep and seething righteousness need to be healed.

In the kindest, gentlest way, with ceremony and dignity, with reverence, love and care, the next logical and necessary step in the nation-wide search for answers... is to find them.

If bodies are discovered, then another layer of that search for truth is also uncovered. The bodies that are found can be properly interred, with full ceremony and honours — if that is the choice of their descendants. Or they can simply be laid to rest properly and respectfully by family members. Either way, at least there would be a choice this time. They can be connected back to their loved ones, helping generations to heal through answers. Many more answers are left to be addressed, but at least some solace can be claimed in the wake of this tragic and disgusting part of a nation's history.

If bodies are not discovered, or the radar anomalies turn up to be something else, the truth will continue to move ahead. It won't mean that children didn't die. It won't mean that people were not treated without care or that assimilation and destruction of humans and culture were not government-ordered mandates. It will simply mean that more digging is necessary. Perhaps literally, carefully excavating other sites, or perhaps figuratively, with research searching for more possible grave sites, more stories, more tears and more truths.

There should be an urgency here to find that truth. Many answers are lying just below the feet of those who want them the most. The search must be balanced with the sanctity of death and respect of culture. The search needs to help those moving forward, by remembering those left behind.

To do that, the truth cannot remain buried. It needs to be exposed.

Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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