Monday, January 24

Latest First Nations Discovery Reveals 182 Unnamed Graves in Canadian School | Canada


A First Nations community in western Canada has discovered the remains of nearly 200 people on the grounds of a former residential school, adding to the growing count of unmarked graves across the country.

The Lower Kootenay Band said Wednesday that ground-penetrating radar had revealed 182 human remains at St Eugene’s Mission Residential School near the town of Cranbrook, British Columbia. Some of the remains were buried in shallow graves only three and four feet deep.

“The remains of these 182 souls are believed to be from the Ktunaxa Nation Member Bands, neighboring First Nations communities and the? Aq’am community,” the Lower Kootenay gang said in a statement.

From the 19th century to the 1990s, more than 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded schools in a campaign to forcibly assimilate them into Canadian society. Abuse was rife in schools where thousands of children died from illness, neglect and other causes.

The find at St Eugene’s adds to the growing list of nameless graves. Last week, the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan announced the discovery of 751 possible unnamed graves. Last month, the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc announced that they had found 215 unidentified graves, most of which are believed to be children.

“You can never fully prepare for something like this,” Lower Kootenay Band chief Jason Louie told CBC News.

The school opened in 1890 and became an industrial school in 1912. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, was the site of recurrent outbreaks of influenza, mumps, measles, chickenpox, and tuberculosis. In 1969, the federal government took over the operation of the Catholic church and shut it down.

Thousands of children attended St Eugene ‘, including 100 from the Lower Kootenay Band.

It was administered by the Catholic Missionaries Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who operated 48 schools, including the India Marieval Residential School at Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan and the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The Oblates have vowed to release all records associated with the schools, but they have also cited privacy concerns as an obstacle.

Records list deaths out of 19 students at the institution, highlighting the gap between the official figures and what many believe is a gross underestimation of the deceased.

“We need to know who died, we need to know how they died, we need to know who was responsible for their deaths or for their care at the time they died,” Murray Sinclair, former head of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. , he previously told The Guardian. “We need to know why the families were not informed. And we need to know where the children are buried. “

In 2000, the building was reopened as St Eugene Resort, a golf course and casino operated by the Ktunaxa community of ʔAq’am, near Cranbrook.

Amid growing papal apologies for the role of the Catholic church in schools, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) said Wednesday that Pope Francis had agreed to meet with indigenous survivors at the Vatican.


www.theguardian.com

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