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tv   Our World  BBC News  November 20, 2021 9:30pm-10:01pm GMT

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hello this is bbc news. the headlines... the world health organisation says it is very worried about the rise in covid cases in europe — saying the disease is once again the continent's biggest killer and warns the uk against complacency. success today does not mean success tomorrow, because no country is an island. in the netherlands more than 50 people have been arrested, after protests over new covid restrictions in rotterdam erupted into rioting last night. record numbers of migrants crossing the channel prompts a government review. missing chinese tennis star peng shuai has been seen in unverified �*new�* footage released by state media — dining with friends
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and her coach in a restaurant. a public consultation starts on a potential ban on single—use plastics like disposable cutlery and polystyrene boxes in england. now on bbc news...0ur world: canada's missing children. this film contains scenes which some viewers may find upsetting. in may this year, the unmarked graves of 215 children were found on the grounds of an old indian residential school. who were these children? those were our relatives. the school was for indigenous children. it was one of hundreds that had been run by the church and government in canada. for years they had been at the centre of child abuse allegations. the sisters were shocked when these allegations started to come out. survivors are now asking the church and the government
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for records from the schools to find out about those who died. we always wanted to remind people, like the holocaust, that this is history, this actually happened. but some believe the truth is being hidden. the church never imagined that someone would question their authority or ask to see those documents. since the discovery of the graves, churches were burned down and vigils for the missing children have been held across the country. i grew up in canada, and i've returned to try and understand what really happened to the children of the indian residential schools. the 215 unmarked graves were found in kamloops, british columbia. since may, more than a thousand graves have been found on other school grounds across canada.
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the un has called for a full investigations. until now, many canadians were unaware of the indian residential schools. they were set up in the 18705 for the children of canada's first nation people. the schools were anglican and government run. but the majority, 70%, were catholic. they operated up until 1997. parents were forced to send their children to the schools. if they didn't, they could face prison. there's a truck that came with a whole bunch of kids in the back, and the driver seen me running in the field, and he picked me up and threw me in the back of the truck and brought me along. norman was seven years old when he was taken to kamloops in 1952. it was real scary for me.
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we were babies. i didn't start until i was seven, in 1962, and i was very tiny and i was very shy, and it was, it was very intimidating. my brother taught me how to read and write and fight. he said, "those are things you need to know before you go to school." so i was looking forward to it — l being away from home, away from the res. - we walked inside the school, went up the stairs. _ my sisters went one way, - my brothers went another way and i went another way, - and that's the last time we'd actually be together. more than 150,000 children went to the schools. their goal was simple — to "remove the indian from the child". it was a social experiment, an industrial indoctrination of the entire
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indigenous population. nobody knows who norman retasket is. theyjust gave me a number. my number was 16. if you didn't do things right, these nuns would be walking behind you, you'd be clunked on the head with the rulers. kamloops indian residential school was run by an order of priests called the 0blates of mary immaculate, and taught by nuns called the sisters of st anne. today there are only 21 sisters still alive. sister marie zarowny is the president of their order in british columbia. we were there to help the children, we never thought that they would lose their connections with their own culture and their own roots. but wasn't one of the goals to take the indian out of the child? well, we've, i mean, learned that in retrospect.
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that was not a goal that any of our sisters read or was told. there was brainwashing, that if you practised your traditional language and your cultural ways, that you would go to hell. and that you would burn in hell. many of the children suffered physical and sexual abuse. this side is where all the boys were, and there were three, four levels of dorm rooms. i lived on the second and third. and we are talking about the abuses — a lot of it happened right there. for the longest of times, i only could remember three times that i was sexually abused. and over the years, able to remember up to 15.
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my dad found out that i'd been abused. i was sexually abused at nine years old. the priest that abused me, i he was transferred out here, and that happened a lot. the sisters taught at four of british columbia's indian residential schools. in every school, either priests or laymen have been convicted of multiple charges of child sex abuse. it was as much of a shock to the sisters as to anyone when they realise that some men they had served with had been abusive to some of the children. if the sisters of st anne were working side—by—side with the oblates, working for the oblates in the same building, surely there must have been some crossover at some point? we had no idea that was happening.
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and people can say, why not? well, because we lived separate lives. we had a girls�* dormitory, boys' dormitory, sisters' convent, the priests were over here. you know, it was quite separate. don worme is one of canada's most influential lawyers. he's spent 30 years fighting forjustice for many of the survivors of the indian residential schools. in law, there is a principal called wilful blindness, and it is where one deliberately turns their eyes away from what they do not want to see. i suspect that that might well account for some of the amnesia that the sisters of st anne profess today. but to say that they would be unaware of those kinds of abuses, it is beyond credible. we heard from well over 7,000 individuals who have told horrific stories of abuse. in 2006, the canadian government agreed to compensate everyone that had been sent
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to the residential schools. victims of physical or sexual abuse were offered an additional payout, but they had to testify to be eligible. 38,000 came forward. for many, this meant speaking about their abuse for the first time. when i first came out, i shook my head and said, never. there is no way... that i am going to share with anybody what happened to me here. it took me a long time to make the decision that i am gonna go before the commission or follow through on the process and you declare that you were sexually abused. did the hearing and was eventually given a settlement. the wife says, "your cheque came in". i told her, "i don't want to see it. i don't even want to touch it. so go deposit it."
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in 2008, a truth and reconciliation commission was formed. those involved in running the schools were asked to hand over all documents relating to the children. let's keep in mind that these were run primarily as a business. and in running any business, you keep meticulous records. they have records of students' attendances. how else did they get paid? in 2015, the truth and reconciliation commission published a damning report using testimony from the survivors. it was called missing children and unmarked burials. it alleged 3,200 children never came home from school. 0ne boy that they found hanging, it's like, one of them things ijust blocked out. one of the times was an individual sharing with me, about finding that young guy hanging in this building here.
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so, yeah. people need to know the kinds of abuses that were sustained i by innocent children, including abuse that led to their death. - there were social experiments carried out, there were - nutritional experiments carried out, _ which deliberately starved children _ there were electric chairs, there were children kicked down stairs who subsequently - disappeared from | residential school. i always knew that the children were there — i knew from when i was a child that the children were there. today, the former kamloops school is the administrative centre for the secwepemc people. as a community elder, diena works in the museum there. she decided to investigate the claims of the missing children. i said, well, we need to confirm what our oral
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history says, what our ancestors have said, that there are children who died here and never made it home. diena and her colleagues hired forensic anthropologist dr sarah beaulieau to look into the site of the alleged graves in the school grounds. within a typical, traditional cemetery context, we are looking for burials that are about six feet beneath the surface. within a clandestine context, it is always different, and with children particularly, the graves are always more shallow. what was interesting is that they were still within an east—west configuration, which is typical of a traditional cemetery or a christian context. using ground penetrating radar she found 215 unmarked graves. the discovery sent shockwaves across canada and made headlines worldwide. survivors hope that the documents handed over to the truth and reconciliation commission
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in 2008 could help identify who was in the graves. the churches who operated residential schools agreed, and it was a court order, to provide all relevant records so that the true story of indian residential schools in canada could be written. i can tell you, that they failed, massively, in that challenge. i cannot say that we did not receive documents totally. they did it by way of a document dump. and by that i mean, when you provide thousands upon thousands of documents that do not have the finding aids, that do not have the codes, that do not make them otherwise relevant and useful to you, they are not useful. the boxes that were handed over into thousand eight by many of the sisters and priests were criticised as being document dumps,
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with no categorisation or organisation, meaning they could take years to sift through. we sent four boxes. that's not a real document dump. what we did was hand them over in the way that the truth and reconciliation commission asked us to hand them over. and so it might be called a document dump, but we weren't asked to categorise anything, we were following the format that they gave us. rob talach has filed over 425 lawsuits against catholic institutions all over canada. he is trying to access documents for child sex abuse cases that he is working on, concerning the same order of priests that taught at kamloops. he is meeting genevieve webber, the head archivist at the royal british columbia museum, which houses the provincial archives for both the priests and the sisters.
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this is not an organisation that is openly transparent. and when it comes to information that goes to the kryptonite of the catholic church, which is scandal, especially sexual scandal, they will be very protective of their own. the records specifically of the 0blates of mary immaculate are still being processed. they don't have any order or organisation placed on them yet. there is a huge amount of material here. the acquisition from the oblates numbered over 340 boxes. so how long do you think your archivists took to just go through this one box? it takes weeks, for sure. weeks per box. and then each of these boxes, it takes a full week to digitise a box. so when i hear that it may take years to sort through these documents, what that says to me is disclosure dump, or document dump. so that is suggestive
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of a continued cover—up, of deception, of really not trying to help the system or the process but to inhibit it. the personnel files have a restriction on them, so we are not able to make those accessible at the moment. the restriction is that they remain closed until 50 years after the death of the person represented in the file. so those records are not being digitised at the moment. the normal length of time to confidentiality of the personnel files for canadians is 20 years after death. the 50 year restriction on accessing the personnel is protecting the wrong people. so you know, i do the math about the 50 year restriction. if someone is abused at 10, and their perpetrator dies five years later, that survivor, that victim of abuse, can't even look at the file of his perpetrator until he himself is 65 years of age. it makes most of this
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archival material on the people that ran the schools completely useless to anyone who is talking and walking. so now i will take you to where the sisters of st anne archives are located, which is inside our building, but in a separate office space. in this space here is where the sisters of st anne archives are based, but it is a private institution, they see researchers on an appointment basis, by theirarchivist who is not an employee of the bc archives. so this vault or this archive is restricted, you are not allowed to freely walk in and do work in here? no, it is a different organisation. i can't go in and access their material without a staff person helping me. the deal with the museum was that they would house the collection rent—free until the sisters' archivist retires in 2027, at which point ownership of the collection
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passes to the museum. i asked sister marie what their collection is comprised of. we came in 1858, we established among the first schools in the province, and hospitals. residential schools is 1% of our total archive. the residential school experience for the catholic church in western canada was a huge undertaking that spanned over a century. so to say 1%, one out of 100, sounds suspiciously low to me. i cannot possibly attach any sort of credibility. to that. they are playing a game i of legalese, and avoidance and obfuscation. and we do not accept that. they were paid for those children. they will have accurate records, because they needed the records, the church needed the records to show the government, that's who paid them, that they had these students here.
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after the graves were found, the sisters agreed to hand over their archives in 2025. but the museum is moving to a new location, and all their archives are set to be put into storage for the next few years. i think the combination of the delay in getting to the documents, and the rapid ageing of those participants that are still alive, is making the possibility of individual justice here evaporating like the morning mist. when the story of the graves first came to light, prime ministerjustin trudeau made an appeal to the pope. i directly asked his holiness, pope francis, to move forward on apologising, on asking for forgiveness, and restitution, on making these records available,
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and we are still seeing resistance from the church, possibly from the church in canada. but he didn't acknowledge that his own government had not handed over all of their relevant records to the truth and reconciliation commission, including statements from over 38,000 abuse survivors. when the victims of abuse made their statements to the government, the churches that ran the schools were asked to take part in the process. we entered into the whole agreement on condition that this would not be made public, because we didn't, we were not there to defend ourselves or to bring a different story forward, or to, whatever. now the first nations didn't want them to be made public because it is retraumatising. and they say this is to protect the privacy of the survivors, this is for their own good — and when i hear language like that, it is the same paternalistic and colonial
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outlook of "we, the great white father, know what's good for these peoples". it's the same outlook that got us here in the first place. on 19 september, 2027, the government is set to destroy much of the testimony from abuse survivors. potential evidence that could give information about the missing children, and perpetrators of abuse will be lost, erased from canada's history. by 2027, all of those records will be destroyed unless there is some intervention. the records were maintained by canada. there is nowjudicial authority for those records to be destroyed. in what civilised country are historical records destroyed? with judicial authority? singing in own language. no compensation
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will ever be paid for the damage that has been done. but at least the story is told. so that it will help others. i never mentioned it to anybody for 65 years, until the 215 kids were found. then it gave me, like, permission to tell my story. soon after the discovery of the 215, we came down the highway, and there was a lineup to get in here. hundreds of cars. people standing on the side of the road. i cried, we cried. we said, "oh my god". never before have i ever experienced something that huge. so overwhelming that people just wanted to be with you. singing in own language.
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hello. it is that time again where we try and pick out some detail in the short term and look at the trends that can affect us over the coming days. one of the trends that we sawjust as recently as friday is temperatures well above the seasonal norm. in aberdeenshire, 17 degrees, about eight or 9 degrees above what we would expect for the time of year. saturday will be seen as the transition day, the transition into something much, much colder and it is notjust aberdeenshire, it is widely across the british isles. on sunday, the wind flicks round to the north, it comes from a long way north as well and then come monday, the high pressurejust begins to build in, forcing fronts to the northern half of the british isles and cutting of that straight northerly flow. but sunday is going to be a bitter day, a lot of showers running
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into northern and eastern areas, one or two dribbling through the north channel into wales and the south—west and these are the best of the temperatures that i can find for you. 6—9 , many of us will be below the seasonal norm. the showers eventually, and it will take a time, beginning to fade away as the high pressure builds in from the atlantic. it will keep them going close by the eastern shores and where the skies are clear, under the influence of the high pressure, here again we will see a widespread frost, particularly away from the major conurbations. you could be off to a chilly start, but a bright one across england and wales on monday. more cloud as those fronts run around at the top side of that area of high pressure, maybe the odd spot of drizzly rain coming through in the flow and without that screaming northerly, on monday we should see those temperatures perhaps pushing towards double figures, but with the clear skies overnight, it could be the north of england, the midlands and down into the stuff wales could well see a frosty start to the day with some sunshine, yes, but it is a chilly start. it is a long way ahead to be forecasting exactly where the cloud is, but we suspect that right
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in the heart of england and the east side of wales, you could see the very best of the sunshine throughout the day. more cloud further north, but with the wind is just in the west and south—west, perhaps nine or 10 degrees and then we have got another frosty start as the sky is clear down towards southern england and the east of wales, a lot of dry weather around in the middle part of the week as the high pressure tends to keep these fronts out to the western side of scotland, and may be late in the day, towards northern ireland. but that high—pressure that dominates in the first half of the week, slips away, down comes the weather front, a band of cloud, the odd patch of rain, perhaps and this is where we get into fairly grey skies and the temperature is really struggling to get up, between four and 8 degrees. we are into something fairly similar as we move from thursday on into friday. friday is noticeable for the influence of low pressure by this stage, throwing a weather front down across scotland, northern ireland and eventually into the north of england and north wales.
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further south, it is still dry, but at this stage it is no warmer, between four and 6 degrees. norwich and london there, between five and seven, a little bit further north and perhaps the chance of a weak spot of sunshine. that is in between the showers. next weekend we will keep the low pressure, i think, towards scandinavia, high pressure in the atlantic and, look at this, north to south, along these isobars, and there are plenty of isobars, indicating a fairly strong wind, we will have a real rash of showers and given that it is north to south, it will not be a one direction again and so many of those showers, especially, but not exclusively, may well be wintry across the higher ground of the british isles. take care.
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this is bbc news. i'm lukwesa burak. the headlines at 10pm. the world health organisation says it is very worried about the rise in covid—19 cases in europe, saying the disease is once again the continent's biggest killer and warns the uk against complacency. success today does not mean success tomorrow, because no country is an island. in the netherlands, more than 50 people have been arrested, after protests over new covid restrictions in rotterdam erupted into rioting last night. record numbers of migrants crossing the channel prompts a government review. missing chinese tennis star, peng shuai, has been seen in unverified new footage released by state media dining with friends and her coach in a restaurant.


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