Hundreds of bodies are found in unmarked graves at another Native American school in Canada where children were ‘assimilated’ into society
- A First Nation in Saskatchewan has discovered hundreds of unmarked graves
- Cowessess First Nation said it was the ‘most significantly substantial to date’
- Last month the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3, were found
A First Nation in southern Saskatchewan has discovered hundreds of unmarked graves at the site of another former residential school for Indigenous children.
A statement from the Cowessess First Nation and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations, which represents Saskatchewan’s First Nations, said on Wednesday that ‘the number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada.’
The remains were found after the First Nation teamed up with an underground radar detection team from Saskatchewan Polytechnic just over three weeks ago.
People from Mosakahiken Cree Nation hug in front of a makeshift memorial at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on June 4 to honour the 215 children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility, in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
In this photo taken on June 6, a staked child’s dress is seen on the side of Hwy 5, placed there to represent an ongoing genocide against First Nations people in Canada, near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, where the remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the facility, in Kamloops
People gather outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on June 6 as they welcome a group of runners from the Syilx Okanagan Nation taking part in The Spirit of Syilx Unity Run, following the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried near the facility, in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
Last month the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia.
Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme and Chief Bobby Cameron of the federation planned to hold a news conference Thursday to provide more details about the new find at the Marieval Indian Residential School.
The school operated from 1899 to 1997 where Cowessess is now located, about 87 miles east of Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.
From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 First Nations children were required to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society.
They were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages.
Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report in 2015 said: ‘Many students who went to residential school never returned. They were lost to their families.
‘They died at rates that were far higher than those experienced by the general school-aged population.
‘Their parents were often uninformed of their sickness and death. They were buried away from their families in long-neglected graves.’
The Canadian government apologized in Parliament in 2008 and admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant.
Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages; they also lost touch with their parents and customs.
Indigenous leaders have cited that legacy of abuse and isolation as the root cause of epidemic rates of alcoholism and drug addiction on reservations.
Last month, the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, have been found buried at a former residential school for indigenous children in Canada.
The Kamloops school was established in 1890 and operated until 1969, its roll peaking at 500 during the 1950s when it was the largest in the country. Children were banned from speaking their own language or practicing any of their customs. This undated archival photo shows a group of young girls at the school
The children whose remains were found last month were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia (pictured) that closed in 1978
215 pairs of children’s shoes are seen on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery as a memorial to the 215 children whose remains were found last month
Those youngsters were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978, according to the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation, which said the remains were found with the help of a ground penetrating radar specialist.
None of them have been identified, and it remains unclear how they died. Survivors fear more bodies will be found at the same site – as well as at the 80 other former residential school sites across Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his horror at the discovery. He said: ‘The news that remains were found at the former Kamloops residential school breaks my heart – it is a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history.
‘I am thinking about everyone affected by this distressing news. We are here for you.’
‘It’s a harsh reality and it’s our truth, it’s our history,’ Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir told a media conference Friday.
‘And it’s something that we’ve always had to fight to prove. To me, it’s always been a horrible, horrible history.’
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