215 Children’s Remains Discovered at Former School
A First Nations community in British Columbia reported on Thursday that the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered buried in a former residential school, revisiting old wounds inflicted by Canada’s colonial history.
The remains were discovered in the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School over the weekend, according to Rosanne Casimir, chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc. Some of the youngsters, as young as three years old, are believed to have died in unreported deaths.
According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, residential schools were funded by the Canadian government and administered by churches beginning in the 1870s, with the final one closing in 1996. Across the country, there were more than 130 of these institutions.
At least 150,000 students from First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities were enrolled in the schools, which aimed to repress their cultural and religious identities and drive them to assimilate into white Christian culture.
Residential schools subjected students to harsh discipline and hunger, as well as physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, after they were forcibly separated from their homes. The children were not allowed to speak their native languages or practice their traditions.
Despite the fact that the precise number of children who died at residential schools is unknown, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has documented over 4,100 pupils who died of disease or accidents.
According to a Tk’emlups te Secwépemc statement, the remains at Kamloops Indian Residential School were uncovered with the help of a ground-penetrating radar specialist.
Casimir added in the statement, “We had a knowledge in our community that we were able to validate.” “These lost children are, as far as we know, unreported deaths.”
“Some were as young as three years old,” says the narrator. We looked for a means to confirm that Tk’emlps te Secwépemc is the ultimate resting site of those lost children and their families, out of the utmost respect and love for them and their families. ”
The next steps, according to the statement, would include working with the coroner and reaching out to communities whose children attended the school, as well as working with the Royal British Columbia Museum and others to find any extant documents of the children’s deaths.
Marc Miller, Canada’s minister of indigenous services, said he offered Tk’emlps his “whole support.” This is a condensed version of the information.