Burning of two Catholic churches in Canada, possibly linked to the discovery of 215 bodies at a boarding school | abroad

Canadian Federal Police are investigating whether two Catholic churches were set on fire on Monday. The two churches were built around 1910 in the Aboriginal area of ​​Western Canada (British Columbia) and caught fire around the same time.

The fires in Catholic churches near the towns of Oliver and Penticton, in British Columbia, come weeks after the remains of 215 young men were discovered at a boarding school in nearby Kamloops, which housed Aboriginal children between 1890 and 1969. The discovery shocked Canadians, who demanded Pope Francis Apologizing for the abuse in church-run boarding schools to the federal government. The Pope has yet to apologise, although he has expressed his disgust.

Sergeant Jason Beida said police were investigating the two fires. “The two churches were completely burnt down, and the police consider the fires suspicious,” she added. And while it’s too early to cite arson as the cause, he added, “We are sensitive to recent events” in Kamloops. “Given the site and the surrounding area, we believe a flammable liquid was used,” Bob Graham, chief of Oliver’s volunteer fire brigade, previously told CBC.

Penticton and Oliver are about 40 miles away. Both churches were built of wood and were over a hundred years old. St. Gregory’s Church was built in 1910, and the Sacred Heart Church followed a year later.

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“Cultural genocide”

The Catholic Church controlled many of the boarding schools that existed in Canada from 1831 to 1996, to which Aboriginal children were forcibly sent. About 150,000 children have been cut off from their families, language and culture. The purpose of the boarding schools was to allow children to adjust to the culture of the white population of Canada. A national commission of inquiry called the regime a “cultural genocide” in 2015.

Foreman Greg Gabriel, an Aboriginal, says he hopes to catch the culprits, and notes that there is a lot of anger among Aboriginal peoples about the discovery of 215 bodies in Kamloops. “I’m not saying that this could have set our church on fire,” he said. “But there is a lot of anger.”

People gather to address the shocking discovery of the bodies of 215 children at Kamleops Boarding School.

People gather to address the shocking discovery of the bodies of 215 children at Kamleops Boarding School. © AFP

Denton Watson

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