Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II statues toppled in Canada amid anger at deaths of Indigenous children

World

Statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II have been toppled in Canada amid growing outrage over the discovery of unmarked graves belonging to Indigenous children.

A group gathered at the Manitoba legislature pulled down the statue of Victoria on Canada Day – an annual celebration on July 1 that marks the country’s confederation.

Members of the group, wearing orange shirts to honour Indigenous children sent to the country’s notorious residential schools, covered the statue and its plinth in red handprints and left a sign that read “We were children once. Bring them home.”

The group also toppled a smaller statue of Elizabeth on the east side of the grounds. Both royals are seen as representative of the country’s colonial history.

At least 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families to attend the schools over a century as part of the campaign by the government to forcefully assimilate the children into Canadian society.

The Lower Kootenay Band, on Thursday, announced they had discovered 182 human remains in unmarked graves at a former residential school – the latest in a series of grim discoveries that have shocked the country.

The recent discoveries had previously led to calls from Indigenous groups to not celebrate Canada Day.

“We will not celebrate stolen Indigenous land and stolen indigenous lives. Instead we will gather to honour all of the lives lost to the Canadian state,” said the group Idle No More, calling for national rallies to support Indigenous communities.

 

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