Remains of 215 children of Kamloops Indian Residential School discovered
30 May, 2021, 10:23
"We recognize the tragic, heartbreaking devastation that the Canadian residential school system has inflicted upon so many, and our thoughts are with all of those who are in mourning today", she said. A large number never returned home, their families given only vague explanations, or none at all.
"I wanted to come here and just stand with people, especially people who have been through residential schools and bring forth my voice as an advocate and bring forth voices of Elders and be there for people".
Starting in the 19th century, Canada was home to a system of residential schools, mostly operated by churches, that Indigenous children were forced to attend. "They may not know what's going on, but they're going to feel something different and the kids in schools are going to need that little extra support".
"We always knew that this was happening there, but it was in our own minds, we had no proof other than our own experience", added Chief McLeod.
The deaths of these 215 children are believed to not have been included in that figure and appear to have been undocumented until the discovery.
Rosanne Casimir, the chief of the community in British Columbia's city of Kamloops, said the preliminary finding represented an unthinkable loss that was never documented by the school's administrators. In 2018, Pope Francis rejected a direct appeal for an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Di landmark Truth and Reconciliation report, wey comot for 2015, said di residential school policy na "cultural genocide". Preliminary work began in the early 2000s.
"There had to be more to the story", she said.
"I lost my heart, it was so much hurt and pain to finally hear, for the outside world, to finally hear what we assumed was happening there", said Harvey McLeod, who attended the school for two years in the late 1960s, in a telephone interview with CNN Friday.
Ms Casimir added that more bodies could still be found as the search of the Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds in British Columbia continues. He asked the federal government to work with Indigenous groups on researching the fates of missing children.
Justin Trudeau said in a message posted to social media that the discovery is "a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country's history".
It is also reaching out to the students' home communities across British Columbia and beyond.
Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner of British Columbia, said in an email that her office had been told of the radar findings on Thursday.
An Indigenous artist is responsible for creating this powerful memorial on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, honouring the 215 children whose remains were discovered on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. this May. It was led by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Language and Cultural Department alongside ceremonial Knowledge Keepers to ensure that the work that was done followed all of the cultural protocols given the serious nature of the investigation.
Premier John Horgan on Friday issued a statement saying he was "horrified and heartbroken" to learn of the discovery.
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