A mass grave with the remains of 215 children was found in an old residential school built for Indigenous students in Canada.
The children were students of Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, which closed in 1978.
The discovery was announced on Thursday (27) by the head of the First Nation, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was a “painful reminder” of the “shameful chapter in our country’s history”. The First Nation Museum is working with experts and coroners to establish the causes and timing of the deaths, which are not even known at the moment. .
Rosneh Kasimir, head of the community in the city of Kamloops in British Columbia, said the initial discovery represents an unimaginable loss that was never documented by school administrators.
Canadian residential schools were compulsory boarding schools administered by government and religious authorities during the 19th and 20th centuries, aimed at forcibly assimilating indigenous youth into European culture.
Kamloops Swadeshi Residential School was the largest in this system. Opened in 1890 under Catholic administration, the school had 500 students at its peak in the 1950s.
The central government took over the administration of the school in 1979, making it a residence for students in the region until 1979, when the school was closed.
What is known about relics?
The First Nation Tk’emlups te Secwepemc said the remains were found with the help of ground-penetrating radar during school searches.
“As far as we know, these missing children have died without any documentation,” Kasimir said.
“Some were just three years old.”
“We find a way to confirm this with deep respect and love for those lost children and their families, realizing that Tk’emlups te Secwepemc is the ultimate resting place for these children.”
Indigenous people said that they looked for native communities whose children attended school. They hope to announce preliminary findings in mid-June.
British Columbia chief coroner Lisa LaPointe told Canadian broadcaster CBC that “we are at the beginning of the information gathering process”.
What was the response?
The response to the discovery was shock, sadness, and regret.
“I am heartbroken by the news I have received at the old Kamloops Residential School,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.
Canadian Minister of Indian Affairs Carolyn Bennett said the residential schools were part of an “embarrassing” colonial policy. He said the government had resolved to “honor lost innocent souls”.
Territory Teague, regional head of the British Columbia First Nations Assembly, called the discovery of “urgent work” that “updates the pain and harm” of communities in the region.
These views have been echoed by other indigenous groups, including the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). “The fact that this situation exists is, unfortunately, not surprising and reflects the harmful and long-term effects that the residential school system continues to experience. About First Nations people, their families and communities,” CEO Richard Jock wrote in a statement.
What were the residential schools?
From about 173 to 1949, more than 150,000 indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in these schools.
Often, children were not allowed to speak their language or practice their culture, and many were abused and abused.
A commission commissioned in 2008 to document the effects of this system found that a large number of indigenous children never returned to their native communities.
The Historical Truth and Reconciliation Report released in 2015 stated that the policy was similar to “cultural genocide”.
In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologized for this system.
The Missing Children Project documents the deaths and burial places of children who were killed while attending schools. The report said that more than 4,100 children who died while studying in a residential school have been identified so far.
You have already seen our new videos YoutubeThe Subscribe to our channel!