Saturday, 31 July, 2021


FSIN says hundreds of unmarked graves found at residential school site

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

The Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan says it has found hundreds of unmarked burial sites near a former residential school.

Indigenous representatives are expected to reveal details of the findings at the former school during a press conference on Thursday morning, as well as to clarify the number of bodies.

According to various estimates, from 3,200 to 6,000 children died in Canadian boarding schools for indigenous peoples, over the entire period of their existence (from the mid-19th century).

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).

"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.

The nuns taught at the Kamloops residential school and provided nursing and child-care services from 1890 until 1970, according to Sisters of St. Ann president Sister Marie Zarowny.

Chief Billy Morin says there are lingering open wounds, highlighted by the discovery at residential school sites recently, and calls Wednesday's announcement a good jumping-off point. "I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely hard and emotional time", he wrote on Twitter.

It comes after the discovery of a burial site of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., as well as 104 unmarked graves at the former Brandon Residential School.

More than 100 remains have also been located on the grounds of the Brandon Indian Residential School in Manitoba.

The Alberta Residential Schools Community Research Grants will go to First Nations and Metis communities that have proposals to research and identify these graves and how to honour them. The federal government announced Tuesday it was giving the FSIN $4.88 million for the project.

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