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Flags at half-staff for slain children

by The Associated Press | May 31, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.
Lynn Karonhia-Beauvais and grandson Jamieson Kane walk past shoes representing the remains of 215 children outside St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, Quebec, Sunday, May 30, 2021. The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, have been found buried on the site of what was once Canada's largest Indigenous residential school — one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

Flags at half-staff

for slain children

The Associated Press

TORONTO -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Sunday that flags on all federal buildings be flown at half-staff to honor more than 200 children whose remains have been found buried on the site of what was once Canada's largest Indigenous residential school -- one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation.

The Peace Tower flag on Parliament Hill in the nation's capital of Ottawa is among the buildings that has the flag at half-staff.

"To honor the 215 children whose lives were taken at the former Kamloops residential school and all Indigenous children who never made it home, the survivors, and their families, I have asked that the Peace Tower and all federal buildings be flown at half-mast," Trudeau tweeted.

The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3, were confirmed last weekend with the help of ground-penetrating radar, Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation in British Columbia said.

She described the discovery as "an unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.″

From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society.

They were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.

The Canadian government apologized in Parliament in 2008 and admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant.

Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages. They also lost touch with their parents and customs.

Indigenous leaders have cited that legacy of abuse and isolation as the root cause of epidemic rates of alcoholism and drug addiction on reservations.

Plans are underway to bring in forensics experts to identify and repatriate the remains of the children found buried on the site.

Mayors of communities across Ontario including Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga and Brampton have also ordered flags lowered to honor the children.

The Kamloops school operated between 1890 and 1969, when the federal government took over operations from the Catholic Church and operated it as a day school until it closed in 1978.

China readies for

astronaut mission

The Associated Press

BEIJING -- A three-member crew of male astronauts will blast off next month for a three-month mission on China's new space station, according to a space official who was the country's first astronaut in orbit.

The comments by Yang Liwei, the manned space program's deputy chief designer, to state television came as an automated spacecraft was launched with fuel and supplies for the Tianhe station.

The Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, is the third and largest space station launched by China's increasingly ambitious space program. Its core module was launched into orbit April 29.

The Shenzhou 12 capsule carrying the crew will be launched from the Jiuquan base in China's northwest, Yang said in comments broadcast Saturday by China Central Television. Yang, who orbited Earth in 2003, gave no details of the astronauts' identities or a flight date.

He said the crew will come from the program's two earliest groups of astronauts. Asked whether women would be in the crew, Yang said, "on Shenzhou 12 we don't have them, but missions after that all will have them."

The Tianzhou-2 spacecraft that docked with Tianhe on Sunday carried 6.8 tons of cargo including space suits, food and equipment for the astronauts, and fuel for the station, according to the space program.

The space agency plans a total of 11 launches through the end of next year to deliver two more modules for the 70-ton station, supplies and the crew. Beijing doesn't participate in the International Space Station, largely because Washington is wary of the Chinese program's secrecy and its military connections.

China has sent 11 astronauts, including two women, into space beginning with Yang's flight in October 2003. The first female astronaut was Liu Yang in 2012.

All of China's astronauts to date have been pilots from the ruling Communist Party's military wing, the People's Liberation Army.

Astronauts on the Tianhe will practice making spacewalks with two people outside the hull at one time, Yang said.

Residential school survivor Betty Deer sits next to children's shoes, placed there as a tribute to the victims of the residential school system outside St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, Quebec, Sunday, May 30, 2021. The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, have been found buried on the site of what was once Canada's largest Indigenous residential school — one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
Residential school survivor Betty Deer sits next to children's shoes, placed there as a tribute to the victims of the residential school system outside St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, Quebec, Sunday, May 30, 2021. The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, have been found buried on the site of what was once Canada's largest Indigenous residential school — one of the institutions that held children taken from families across the nation. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
Jamieson Kane puts down tobacco as a tribute to all the victims of the residential school system as he walks amongst children's shoes outside St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, Quebec, Sunday, May 30, 2021.  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
Jamieson Kane puts down tobacco as a tribute to all the victims of the residential school system as he walks amongst children's shoes outside St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, Quebec, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
A woman places children's moccasins as a tribute to all the victims of the residential school system outside St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, Quebec, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
A woman places children's moccasins as a tribute to all the victims of the residential school system outside St. Francis Xavier Church in Kahnawake, Quebec, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
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