Warning: The story below contains details of residential schools that may be unconventional. The Indian Residential Schools Family and Survivors Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.
An Indigenous community in western Canada has found 182 unmarked graves near a boarding school for Indigenous children, the latest discovery in recent weeks.
The Kootenay Inferior Band said Wednesday that experts have used penetrating radar mapping in the ground to locate what are believed to be the remains of Indigenous children between the ages of seven and 15 at St Eugene’s Mission School. near Cranbrook, British Columbia.
The institution, which Indigenous children were required to attend in a state effort to assimilate into Canadian society, was run by the Catholic Church and operated from 1890 to 1970, according to at the Indiana Residential School History and Dialogue Center.
The search for the land began last year, the band said in a statement, and the children are believed to be members of gangs of the Ktunaxa Nation, which includes the Lower Kootenay and other neighboring indigenous communities.
“You can never fully prepare for something like that,” said Lower Kootenay Band leader Jason Louie, as reported from CBC News.
Hundreds of unmarked graves have been discovered in at least three other residential schools in Canada in recent weeks, drowning indigenous communities they had known for decades about death in institutions in a sense of renewed pain and anguish.
Canada’s residential school system operated from the late 1800s until the 1990s. It was part of a larger colonial project that aimed to reclaim indigenous lands and forcibly assimilate First Nation children, from the Metis and the Inuit. Several churches, including in particular the Roman Catholic Church, run at least 139 residential schools across Canada, and thousands of Indigenous children have died while attending institutions.
At the end of last month, 215 Remains of Indigenous Children were found at Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC, while 751 graves were unmarked discovered at Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan last week.
Chief Jennifer Bone of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, in the central province of Manitoba, too he said this month the community believes 104 potential graves exist in three cemeteries at the Brandon Residential School site.
The findings have led to a growing demand for accountability from the federal government and the Catholic Church.
Indigenous leaders are apologizing to Pope Francis and for the church to release all its records relating to the institutions. They also call for adequate financial support to help fund research on residential school grounds, to prosecute criminals against anyone found responsible for crimes committed, and to an in-depth investigation be launched.
182 more unmarked tombs.
The time has come for a coherent and independent investigation to gather evidence of these crimes.
It is now that the Federals and the Church produce the documents.
Time to put resources on the table to ensure a thorough investigation of all sites.
– Charlie Angus NDP (@CharlieAngusNDP) June 30, 2021
Canadian MP Charlie Angus, of the opposition New Democratic Party, said Wednesday that “the time has come for a coherent and independent inquiry to gather evidence of these crimes”.
Meanwhile, the anguish of the latest discovery has been felt by Indigenous peoples across Canada.
“My family went all over here,” Earl Einarson, a member of the Ktunaxa First Nation, published on Twitter about the residential school near Cranbrook. “The shadow of that place always haunts our family.” And now in this same shadow are 182 who have never escaped from their dark shadow. “
According to the Center for History and Dialogue of the Indian Residential School, “an Indian Agent reported in 1935 that, due to poor nutrition, overwork and illness, he had to force parents to send their children” to St. Eugene Mission School.
“Despite a change in the principal, attendance at school and students were a problem in Corsica. There have also been recurrent epidemics of influenza, mumps, measles, chickenpox and tuberculosis, ”the center said. he said.
Many members of the indigenous community have as well asked who celebrates Canada’s day – a national holiday on July 1 – will be canceled in light of the unmarked tomb discoveries.
“As more and more of our children who are not returning from Residential Schools are discovered, I don’t think this is a time to celebrate Canada,” said Walter Naveau, head of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). ), which represents dozens of First Nations in northern Ontario.
“I hear people say that Canada is the largest nation, but many choose not to recognize the true history of this country with Indigenous Peoples and the legacy that continues to this day,” Naveau said in a statement Wednesday.
“Canada has been living in the dark days of residential schools, but ours have not. Many are still in mourning, and some cannot mourn until they know what happened to their loved ones – the children who have been taken away and never returned home. ”