Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the recent discovery of more than 200 bodies in the grounds of what was the country’s largest Indigenous residential school — where Indigenous children were sent after being removed from their communities — as a “painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter” of the nation’s history.
Earlier this week, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanna Casimir confirmed the remains of 215 children, some of whom were believed to have been as young as 3 years old, in the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. The remains were discovered using a radar specialist, who has yet to complete a survey of the school’s grounds, Casimir said.
“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Casimir said in a statement.
Residential schools were “an integral part of a conscious policy of cultural genocide” against the country’s Indigenous population, according to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report in 2015. The system was created to separate Aboriginal youths from their families and “indoctrinate children” into a new culture, the report said, with the system in place for over a century — the last such school closed in the 1990s. The report detailed many instances of physical abuse and neglect at the institutions.
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SOURCE: ABC News, Guy Davies