In what will come across as a really horrific development, a mass grave with the remains of 215 children has been found on the grounds of an old residential school.
The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, an indigenous group, used a radar to detect the remains they had speculated were somewhere on the school’s property in British Columbia, Canada.
The Kamloops Indian residential school was established in 1890, and founded by the Roman Catholic church to encourage indigenous children to integrate into Canadian society.
The group’s chief Rosanne Casimir said the community suspected there was a burial site at the school for a long time.
In a statement to CBC she said: “We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths.”
Some of the remains were of children as young as three years old.
Casmir said: “We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children.”
Children were reportedly abducted from their families and sent to schools where they were forbidden to practice their native culture or speak their native language.
The Guardian told how a student who attended in the 1920s, said: “Every Indian student smelled of hunger.”
The main administrative building at the Kamloops Indian Residential School where mass graves were discovered (Image: via REUTERS)
More than 150,000 children attended the institutions from the 1830s to the 1990s.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission described the institutions as part of a “cultural genocide” against Indigenous people.
In 2015, it found: “The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources,”
Chief Harvey McLeod of the Upper Nicola Band attended Kamloops residential school, as did many in his community.
After the discovery of the mass grave, he told cfjctoday.com: “So much hurt and pain came out in a matter of seconds. Just felt for our families that all went there.”
McLeod attended the institution in the 1960s and said the “hurt and pain and shame” of the experience still lingers.
He said: “We hear really horrific stories about what happened and dealing with our people that had passed on, and what they were forced to do, to bury them. And it wasn’t the grown-ups, it was the babies.”
The Kamloops residential school operated until 1969 when the federal government took over its administration from the Catholic church and closed in 1978.
Canadian PM .Justin Trudeau said the discovery of the mass grave “breaks (his) heart.”
He tweeted: “It is a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history,”
“I am thinking about everyone affected by this distressing news. We are here for you.”
Source: Daily Star UK