Amaranth Dufferin News Municipal Politics

Amaranth Council: Investigate all ‘Residential Schools’

LOCAL MAYOR CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF Egerton Ryerson STATUES - Amaranth Council: Investigate all Residential Schools

After the uncovering of a mass burial site that contained the bodies of 215 indigenous children at a former ‘residential school’ in Kamloops, British Columbia, political leaders across the country are calling for action.

The council at the Township of Amaranth is no exception. 

I may have my views on some things, but this kind of thing,” asserted Amaranth’s Mayor Bob Currie, “it’s beyond reasoning that any human being would do this to some other innocent little souls.”

At the June 2, 2021, Amaranth council meeting, Councillor Gail Little initiated acknowledging the tragedies and the loss of the lives of the 215 children. The mayor expressed appreciation to Councillor Little for bringing up the matter, ensuring that council members openly recognized the disaster.

As many have come to expect, Mayor Bob Currie was candid with his statements. 

“This is a disgrace to think that innocent little souls were murdered, and we have no idea why or how,” attested the mayor. “To think this happened in our country, this is not right. This is just… It’s disgraceful.”

Amaranth’s Chief Administrative Officer, Nicole Martin, explained how the flag at the township office, similar to many others across the country, would be lowered to half-mast for 215 hours. One hour for each child that was found at the Kamloops burial site.

“As far as I’m concerned, you could lower it for 215 days,” uttered Mayor Currie.

The mayor of Amaranth then voiced that there were likely other mass grave sites across the country, reiterating that it is ‘nothing short of a disgrace.’ Currie then remarked how many people likely knew and took these atrocities with them ‘to their grave.’

“I can’t… I don’t want to say the words that I’m thinking of I want people where. It’s unbelievable,” confessed Amaranth’s mayor.

Deputy Mayor Chris Gerrits mentioned that municipalities have been requesting the federal government examine all former sites of ‘residential schools’ in the country to see how many more child deaths were whitewashed. Gerrits suggested that the Amaranth council should make a similar motion. Councillor Heather Foster advised that they supplement it by calling upon Dufferin-Caledon Member of Parliament Kyle Seeback to stand up in parliament and pursue more details on the matter.

“I don’t want this to become something that everyone stands up outraged, and then it dies down,” stressed Councillor Foster. “I want him to continue requesting information on this until the time where it’s resolved and all parties involved have been made accountable.”

Mayor Currie had an additional request for MP Seeback.

“I’d like also that when Seeback is talking to whoever it is, that any monuments or anything else to do with Ryerson be taken down because I understand he’s the guy that started these things,” alleged Currie. “I would take them down and never erect them again.”

Egerton Ryerson is considered to have had a significant role in the creation of the ‘residential school’ system. Throughout the years, demands have been made ordering the removal of statues portraying Ryerson. Indigenous staff at Ryerson University are currently asking for the name to be changed. Ryerson’s school of journalism has already committed to changing the name of its two publications.

“People in Canada are enraged right now,” told Ryerson professor Lynn Lavallee, who is an Anishinaabe Metis registered with the Metis Nation of Ontario, to the Canadian Press. “This is genocide. We already knew it was genocide but it wasn’t believed.”

In the end, Amaranth’s council unanimously agreed to demand that the federal government commence an investigation into all ‘residential schools’ in light of the findings at the site in Kamloops, British Columbia. The passed motion included the appeal for MP Seeback to ensure a resolution is obtained. The motion was put forward by Deputy Mayor Gerrits and seconded by Councillor Steve Niedzwiecki. MP Seeback would be forwarded the associated letter.

Did you know that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy declared a moratorium on development along the Haldimand Tract? That includes portions of Amaranth! Check out Dufferin News’s latest coverage of the subject.

June 9 Correction: Meeting of council was corrected to June 2, 2021.

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