Canada’s National Day redefined over unmarked graves

Hidden graves at Kamloops residential school
Nicholas Rausch/AFP

Celebrations of Canada’s national day were more subdued than usual in parts of the country Thursday amid mounting fury and grief over the recent discoveries of more than 1,000 unmarked graves on or near the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children…

In a statement Thursday, Trudeau acknowledged that “for some, Canada Day is not yet a day of celebration.”

“We, as Canadians, must be honest with ourselves about our history because in order to chart a new and better path forward, we have to recognize the terrible mistakes of the past,” he said. “The truth is we’ve got a long way to go to make things right with Indigenous peoples.”

Indigenous leaders expect to find many more unmarked graves as communities across the country turn to ground-penetrating radar to unearth dark secrets buried for decades…

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission said in a 2015 report that many of the students were subjected to physical and sexual abuse at the schools, which barred them from practicing their traditions and speaking their languages. It said that schools carried out “cultural genocide” and effectively institutionalized child neglect.

Some folks from nearby tribes, students from today’s version of these schools, visited the graves. Some leaving children’s toys, most bringing their own shoes to leave at gravesites. I hope someone brings strong justice to lay on the heads and hearts of those responsible for a childhood of religious slavery.

Transgender woman wins place to compete for Miss USA

A transgender woman who won the Miss Nevada USA pageant will soon become the first openly transgender Miss USA contestant…

Donning a rainbow sequined gown she designed herself, Kataluna Enriquez accepted the crown toward the end of Pride Month, and will compete in the Miss USA pageant in November.

The Filipina-American is a fashion designer and healthcare administrator. A biography on the Miss Silver State USA’s Instagram mentions Enriquez is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse who “aims to break barriers and represent those who aren’t always represented and continues to support numerous non-profit organizations and LGBTQ+ youth.”…

Enriquez began competing in transgender pageants in 2016, and began competing in cisgender pageants in 2020. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal after her win, Enriquez said she wasn’t allowed to use either boys’ or girls’ restrooms, and faced bullying by her classmates over her gender identity.

“Growing up, I was often told that I was not allowed to be myself, or to be in spaces that I was not welcome,” she said. “Today I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I’ve learned that my differences do not make me less than, it makes me more than.”

Bravo! A victory for a strong-willed human being. A victory for organizations ready to join the 21st Century.