St. Pete’s Demonstrators Protest Roman Catholic Church’s Massacre of Indigenous Children | Tampa

Nearly two dozen protesters gathered in St. Petersburg on Saturday to hold the Roman Catholic Church responsible for the massacre of indigenous children. Over the past two weeks, more than 1,000 unmarked children’s graves were discovered in Canadian residential schools, causing widespread suffering throughout the Indigenous community.

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Protesters gathered in Williams Park to listen to members of Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality in Florida (FIREE) express the abuse their people have endured and then marched to St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church to hold a vigil. There they solemnly placed children’s toys, clothes, flowers, tobacco and candles in front of the church and posted a list of requests on the door.

The four main demands are:

?? A full apology from the pope directly to indigenous peoples
?? The prosecution of all living school employees for crimes against humanity, regardless of age?? Immediate review of all boarding school survivors currently incarcerated?? Multibillion-Dollar Donation from Church to Establish All-Indigenous Language and Cultural Revitalization Initiative

Those who spoke cried out against the abuses of the Church and the evils of colonization, and sang prayers in honor of their ancestors. They called on the non-indigenous community to mourn with them and join in their fight against Christian repression.

Only three of the 139 residential schools that Natives say are just a colloquialism for concentration camps have been excavated in Canada, and Native tribes have had to pay the cost of ground-penetrating radar to find the remains. For generations, Indigenous children in Canada and the United States have been forced into schools, forced into assimilation, tortured and killed. After the discovery of the graves and the inaction of the Catholics, nine churches in Canada have been reduced to ashes.

There are 365 boarding schools in the United States, of which only two have been searched for remains, where dozens of bodies have been found. Some boarding schools in the United States are still active.??Justin Garcia

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