Denial is a terrible thing. Indeed, the primary symptom of the disease of alcoholism and addiction is the person afflicted with it saying they don’t have the disease. This is not generally true when you’re told you have cancer or diabetes, or pretty much any other malady.

Nations, of course, can suffer denial as well, and the discovery of what could grow to be thousands of bodies of Indigenous children at residential schools across the country, has brought us face-to-face with our own national denial.

How could millions of us all know, at some vaguely repressed level, that these schools dragged 150,000 children away from their parents, their homes, their culture and their language – and yet not bother to ask: “What happened to them?” How could the Catholic and other churches know exactly which children died and were buried on residential school grounds, yet not only keep that secret for 150 years, but fight to keep those records a secret today? How could our provincial and federal governments know all this and do nothing?

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