The Guardian: Native children didn’t ‘lose’ their lives at residential schools. Their lives were stolen | Erica Violet Lee

I wrote an essay for The Guardian on Native resistance, colonialism’s theft of childhood joy, and reckoning with the unearthing of graves at canada’s residential schooling institutions.

“Some of the stories we are told about residential schooling prisons involve Native children digging graves for other children. Rarely did our ancestors receive proper burials or grave markers. The soils of these lands have always known our hands, as gardeners, as workers; these lands hold our bodies and the bodies of our ancestors. The soil that lies underneath so-called Canada has been hell and it has been refuge.”

Photo: Light Warriors #CancelCanadaDay action in Montreal

“…as Indigenous people, we are struck in the heart by those numbers, every single time. There is simply no calculus that can account for the lives of each child stolen by colonialism’s violence – all the moments of joy, curiosity, play and learning that make childhood such a wondrous time; these things are immeasurable and immaterial. The lived experience of Indigenous childhood is irreducible to any European notion of property, and this is precisely why it is a threat to the colonial order.”

Read the entire essay here.