Canada: Hundreds of unmarked graves found at indigenous school

Eloise Marshall
June 24, 2021

MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said in the news release that the last few weeks have been hard for residential school survivors and their descendants due to the discovery of these unmarked graves.

The Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan will host a news conference today to announce the "horrific and shocking discovery" of the graves, the FSIN said in a statement.

Last month, the remains of 215 children were discovered in unmarked graves at the school site. For much of that time, the Roman Catholic Church operated the school.

"I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely hard and emotional time", he said on Twitter.

For many, the schools have left lasting scars and trauma that has been passed down from one generation to the next.

The children were malnourished and physically and sexually abused in what the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called "cultural genocide" in 2015.

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It also identified at least 3,200 students who died at the schools during that time - a rate that was far higher than for students elsewhere in Canada - though it said that the figure was probably greater and merited further investigation.

Garden River First Nation Chief Andy Rickard told a small, socially-distanced crowd Monday that there have been conversations about searching the grounds of Shingwauk Residential School, as well as other cemeteries in the province, for the remains of Garden River members after hearing stories of potential unmarked graves in Sault Ste.

"The number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada", the statement said.

The memorandum seeks to make records of the SSA's involvement in the school accessible to Indigenous communities, including the Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation in Kamloops.

The First Nation received a federal grant to bring in an underground radar detection team from a local education institute.

According to information available through the University of Regina, the school was run by the Catholic Church until Cowessess First Nation took over operations in 1981.

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