Photo Archive: First Nations at Worship

Posted on February 20, 2011

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They came to worship on the beach.  They knelt and bent their heads and prayed in front of the Catholic icons.  They were converts, every one of them, to the European’s idea of divinity.

Up north, among the Tsimshian, they loved the pomp and thump and blare of brass bands, and they welcomed the Salvation Army in.

They came of their own will.  They learned the Europeans’ stories.  They acted in them sometimes.

They built little churches, and posed, sitting proudly in front of them.

Yet that was not enough for the churches.  The Aboriginal people who came voluntarily to the Christian way were still too few, not enough.

The churches felt they had to steal the children, take them away from their parents, shave their heads, indoctrinate them.  Residential schools were preferred because in them the children would not be contaminated by their parents ideas, by those parents who still thought they were entitled to their own ideas.

And if the churches destroyed tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of communities by robbing them of their children?  It was for the best of intentions, some say.

Is it that Jesus likes statistics, I ask, the more souls the better?

Someone else will have to answer.  I wouldn’t know.

It still seems like a crime to me.