Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Hundreds more unmarked graves found at Canada school after previous grim discovery

Canada Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day Today Catholic order that staffed Kamloops residential school signs agreement to share records: Royal BC Museum
Sandy Nunez | 24 June, 2021, 11:20

National chief of Canadian advocacy organisation Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, said on Wednesday that the latest discovery was "absolutely tragic, but not surprising".

Unmarked graves were found near a former Catholic residential school for indigenous children in Saskatchewan, Canada, according to The Washington Post. "I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely hard and emotional time", he wrote on Twitter.

The Victoria-based museum announced Wednesday that its own researchers and those from the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) at the University of British Columbia will get "enhanced access" to the records of the Sisters of St. Ann (SSA).

Barbara Nolan, language commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation, recalled her time as a student at Spanish Residential School on the north shore of Lake Huron, where she would get "strapped" every time she spoke Anishinaabemowin.

"It is essential this process is led by Indigenous people and communities as we work to heal from the ongoing legacy of residential schools".

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At the beginning of June, the Muskowekwan First Nation in Saskatchewan held a ceremony to honour the 215 children whose remains were found at a Kamloops residential school site and recognize the 35 unmarked graves found on the site of the Muscowequan Indian Residential School. Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded in its 2015 report that what happened at the schools constituted "cultural genocide".

Canada's federal government apologised for the system in 2008.

Such compulsory boarding schools were run by the Canadian government and religious authorities during the 19th and 20th Centuries with the aim of assimilating indigenous youth.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis said he was pained but did not apologise, in a statement dismissed by survivors.

"The first priority is the health, healing and wellness of the survivors and their families, as well as the community of Cowessess First Nation", Larissa Burnouf from FSIN Communications said.