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Alberta UCP curriculum advisor denies Kamloops burial site part of Indigenous genocide

Last Updated Jun 18, 2021 at 6:55 am MDT

A memorial grows at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on May 28, 2021, after the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried there. (Martin MacMahon/NEWS 1130)

CALGARY (CityNews) – An advisor for the UCP’s social studies draft curriculum is facing criticism for denying the Kamloops burial site finding of 215 children’s bodies at a former residential school is evidence of genocide.

“Natural compassion should not be distorted into a big lie narrative that ‘we’ committed genocide or that Canadians are complicit in their own version of the holocaust,” wrote Chris Champion in an article published Thursday in The Dorchester Review.

The comments by Champion were written in the history publication which he also is an editor of.

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The article also goes on to say “the media and social media class in Canada have seized the Kamloops discovery as evidence of ‘Canada’s holocaust’ as if the children had been deliberately killed or that death was the norm rather than the very sad exception.”

It follows tweets posted by the publication’s Twitter account, which write the children had an ‘absolute blast,’ at residential schools.

Nicole Sparrow, press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in an email to CityNews Thursday evening that Chris Champion’s role with Alberta education ended last fall with the planned expiration of his contract.

“To make light of the horrors children faced in residential schools is not only appalling, it is harmful to survivors and their families, and we denounce such actions categorically,” she said in response to his comments.

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During his time with the government, the Alberta Teacher’s Association called for Champion to be fired after he said the inclusion of First Nations’ perspectives in the Alberta curriculum was a fad.

The NDP is calling for LaGrange to disavow Chris Champion and to pull the curriculum.

“These tweets are disgusting, and I know Alberta parents and teachers are horrified to think they were published by the man who held the pen on the Alberta curriculum,” said Sarah Hoffman, NDP Critic for Education in a press release Thursday afternoon.

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“While Canadians are grappling with the discovery of a mass grave of children at the residential school in Kamloops, Chris Champion continues to try and erase the genocide inflicted on Indigenous people,” Hoffman said.

“That’s unacceptable. LaGrange must sever all ties with Champion and pull this curriculum.”