News ID: 314756
Published: 0127 GMT July 13, 2021

Indigenous people: Over 160 unmarked graves found in Canada

Indigenous people: Over 160 unmarked graves found in Canada
AFP
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (back C) visits the Cowessess First Nation, where a search found 751 unmarked graves from the former Marieval Indian Residential School near Grayson, Saskatchewan, Canada, on July 6, 2021.

Indigenous people in Canada belonging to Penelakut Tribe in British Columbia's Southern Gulf Islands said they have found more than 160 "undocumented and unmarked" graves in the area, which was also once home to the Kuper Island Residential School.

The tribe informed neighboring First Nations communities of the discovery in a newsletter posted online on Monday morning, according to cbc.ca.

"We are inviting you to join us in our work to raise awareness of the Kuper Island Industrial School, and confirmation of the 160+ undocumented and unmarked graves in our grounds and foreshore," the notice said.

No further details were provided. The tribe did not say how the graves were found, whether children's remains are suspected of being buried there or whether ground-penetrating radar was used.

Officials did not respond to multiple requests for interviews.

The school operated from 1890 to the 1970s on Penelakut Island, formerly known as Kuper Island, which is among the Southern Gulf Islands.

On Thursday, the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation near Kamloops, British Columbia, is expected to reveal further details of its recent discovery, on the grounds of another former residential school, of what were said to be the buried remains of an estimated 215 children.

A series of similar, grim announcements followed, linked to former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Penelakut Chief Joan Brown encouraged residential school survivors to heal in the newsletter.

"It is impossible to get over acts of genocide and human rights violations. Healing is an ongoing process, and sometimes it goes well, and sometimes we lose more people because the burden is too great," Brown said.

She invited community members to participate in the March for the Children in Chemainus, British Columbia, on August 2 to remember the students who were forced to attend the Kuper Island Residential School and to move forward on the path to healing and reconciliation.

In recent months, the discovery of corpses in unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools have once again put the horrific abuse of generations of indigenous people in Canada under the spotlight, according to Press TV.

On June 30, the Lower Kootenay Band, a First Nation based in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia, said that a ground-penetrating radar had revealed 182 human remains at St. Eugenes Mission residential school near the city of Cranbrook in British Columbia.

The group added that some of the remains had been buried in shallow graves only three and four feet deep.

The latest finds have reopened old wounds in Canada regarding the notorious residential schools, which were mostly operated by the Roman Catholic Church on behalf of the government of Canada during the 19th and 20th centuries.

In all, 130 boarding schools forcibly separated more than 150,000 indigenous children from their families and had them attend state-funded schools in a campaign aimed at presumably assimilating the minors into the Canadian society.

Thousands of children died of disease, malnutrition, neglect, and other causes at the schools, where physical as well as sexual abuse was rife.

Earlier in June, the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan announced the discovery of 751 possible unmarked graves.

In May, the Tkemlúps te Secwe̓pemc said it had discovered 215 unmarked graves, most of which were believed to be those of children.

 

 

   
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Resource: cbc.ca
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