By Mary Ormsby
“The irony is not lost on us—due respect where none is given,” says Joe Hester, Anishnawbe Health Toronto’s executive director, noting business rarely halts when aboriginal remains are unearthed by bulldozers clearing ground for subdivisions and roads.
“I think often times, when (aboriginal) burial sites are found, there’s development already in progress and to a large degree, that development continues and our people are an after-thought. Here, we get some information and we respect that. It’s a burial site.”
The decision to leave the bones—and more importantly, the souls of the dead—undisturbed at 51 Power St. is in keeping with native beliefs. It also means another frustrating delay in a decade-long quest to better serve the 85,000 aboriginal men, women and children living in the GTA, a group whose overall health is two to three times lower than the general Canadian population.
This is an excellent example of Native values in actions. Unlike many Euro-Americans, Natives put their money where their mouths. They refuse to desecrate a possible Catholic graveyard even if it costs them.
If the colonizers had taken this approach, much of America might still belong to the Indians. Which is why they didn't take this approach. A big part of Western culture is exalting greed and selfishness above other values. That's why the colonizers chose to go abroad and conquer and kill rather than stay at home.
For more on burial grounds, see Blame Burial Grounds for Economy? and Mound Supporters Compared to Violent Protesters.
Below: "Joe Hester, Executive Director of Anishnawbe Health Toronto, right, along with Dr. Chandrakant Shah, left, and Jacques Huot, President of AHT's board of directors at Orphans Greenspace, a city of Toronto off-leash dog park at 51 Power Street. The land in question may contain human remains from a 19th century Roman Catholic cemetery, a possibility that caused AHT to walk away from buying the land for a new facility."