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Niigaan Sinclair is an Anishinaabe Winnipeg Free Press columnist and an associate professor of native studies at the University of Manitoba.

He is also the son of retired Senator Murray Sinclair, the well-known former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada responsible for producing the six-volume report on the history, operation, and legacy of the country’s now notorious Indian residential schools.

The younger Sinclair’s latest newspaper column, titled “The real hoax is perpetrated by denialists claiming to be ‘truth seekers,’” pays homage to the third anniversary of the shocking announcement heard around the world of the “confirmation of the remains of 215 children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.”

No such “stark truth” or “confirmation” has ever come to light because only physical excavation can reveal the actual contents of the soil disturbances ground penetrating radar merely suggests.

Though Sinclair purports that he is exposing a denialist hoax, he begins his diatribe with a hoax of his own, namely that the announcement “revealed that ground-penetrating radar had detected anomalies potentially representing the remains of 215 children,” an unexplained reinterpretation only recently made by Chief Rosanne Casimir.

Unfunded but meticulous historical research by dozens of objective scholars and other writers whose results have been published in two edited volumes and several hundred essays found here, here, here, here, and especially here reveals the Kamloops scandal and others like it are the largest hoax in Canadian history.

This research focused on what was going on in the schools during their actual operation between 1883 and 1996, not on the unsubstantiated and unquestioned oral testimonies of their self-selected former students, always called “survivors,” made decades later.

In particular, this careful research systematically debunks Sinclair’s assertions that residential school students died or disappeared, that “survivor” testimony should be accepted at face value, and that activists never made claims of “mass graves,” among other things.

For example, this meticulous scholarly work has found that no “missing children” went away to residential schools and were never heard from again; instead, their attendance was carefully recorded from registration to completion. This means any suggestion that missing children were murdered by school personnel after being subjected to physical and sexual abuse or even outright torture is an undocumented blood libel: no human remains have been located using ground-penetrating radar at any former Indian Residential School save for persons properly registered and buried in known and named cemeteries.

Niigaan Sinclair and many genocide peddlers like him need to answer a simple question: why is the Jewish Holocaust now the best documented mass murder event in human history, even though the Nazis did their best to cover it up while it was taking place. Its nearly 500-year alleged Canadian indigenous counterpart is still so carefully hidden that the name of even a single victim remains unknown. 

Even Kimberly Murray, the federal government’s special interlocutor on the missing children, unmarked graves, and burial sites, has dismissed the assertion that children are “missing” regardless of whether they were murdered and tossed in unmarked graves. Last year, she confirmed the absence of any missing children – as opposed to countless forgotten ones – in her testimony before the federal government Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples when she proclaimed: 

“The family doesn’t know where their loved one is buried,” she said. “They were taken to a sanatorium (or) an Indian residential school. They were just told that they died. The children aren’t missing; they’re buried in the cemeteries. They’re missing because the families were never told where they’re buried.”

Though there is no evidence that thousands of children’s deaths were not reported to their parents, and lots of evidence to the contrary, Murray’s statement repudiates the established narrative about missing children.

As for the Kamloops Indian Band, when asked about the nearly $8 million allocated to uncover the truth about the 215 graves beside the residential school, its representatives declined to comment, again highlighting the existence of either a successful hoax or mass moral panic employing fake historical grievances that have demonized all non-Indigenous Canadians, the extraction of blood money its transparent outcome.

As for the big picture, the rent-seeking farce at Kamloops must be seen for what it is: a silly but expensive battle in a larger cultural war against Western civilization. 

So far, the silly side is winning.

Hymie Rubenstein is editor of REAL Indigenous Report and a retired professor of anthropology, the University of Manitoba.


  • Hymie Rubenstein

    Hymie Rubenstein is a retired professor of anthropology at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada who is now engaged in debunking the many myths about Canada’s Indigenous peoples.