WINNIPEG – The Brandon Police Department is investigating after two churches in the community were vandalized over the weekend.
St. Matthews Anglican Cathedral and the First Presbyterian were both graffiti sprayed over the weekend, as were several vehicles in the area.
“The vandalism was first reported on July 4, around 7:30 a.m. by one of the owners of the vandalized vehicles, which led to police discovering graffiti on nearby churches,” a police statement read. by Brandon, adding that the investigation is ongoing. and no arrests were made.
Don Bernhardt, the dean of St. Matthews Cathedral, said that although his church only had a vandalized door with a message saying “God is dead,” the vandalism near the first Presbyterian included the message “We were children â.
He believes the vandalism is linked to the discovery of hundreds of anonymous graves at the sites of former residential schools in Canada.
âOn my way to work in the morning, I walked through the door and saw that it had happened,â said Bernhardt. “My reaction was a reaction of sadness because it is not impossible that something like this could happen, but it is a testament to the anger and pain of the person involved.”
As a result of the discoveries, churches across Canada were vandalized with graffiti, and some churches were burnt down, including five churches in British Columbia and Saint-Jean-Baptiste parish in Morinville, Alberta. The fires are being investigated as they are suspect.
Bernhardt said the Anglican Church of Canada apologized in the 1990s for its role in the residential school system.
âSince then, we have been committed to following a path of reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters,â he said.
âBut, at the same time, the expression talking is cheap comes to mind. There are people who think that we haven’t done enough, that other churches haven’t done enough, and again when this happened and these graves were discovered they used the word shocked. It was no shock to our native brothers and sisters, many of whom I spoke to knew that these The graves were there, the problem was, they told us, but we weren’t listening.
Bernhardt said he has spoken to Indigenous elders in the community and is working to find out what the Indigenous community in Brandon wants the church to do in order to foster reconciliation.
-With files from CTV’s Maralee Caruso and Kayla Rosen.