Canada: the remains of 215 children found on the site of a former residential school
Steph Deschamps / May 28, 2021
An expert located the human remains last weekend using geo-radar at the site of the former residential school near Kamloops, B.C., the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Aboriginal community announced in a news release.
Some were only three years old, said Chief Rosanne Casimir.
According to her, the death of these children, the cause of which is unknown and when it occurred, has never been documented by the management of the residential school, even though their disappearance had already been mentioned in the past by members of this community.
Preliminary findings from the investigation are expected to be released in a report in June, Casimir said.
In the meantime, the community is working with the provincial medical examiner and museums to try to get to the bottom of this horrific discovery and find any documentation related to these deaths.
My heart breaks for the families and communities affected by this tragic news," wrote Canadian Aboriginal Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett on Twitter.
The school was closed in 1969
The former residential school, run by the Catholic Church on behalf of the Canadian government, was one of 139 such institutions established in the country in the late 19th century. It opened in 1890 and served up to 500 students by the 1950s. It was closed in 1969.
Some 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly conscripted into these schools, where they were cut off from their families, their language and their culture.
Many were subjected to mistreatment or sexual abuse, and at least 3,200 died, mostly of tuberculosis, according to the findings of a national commission of inquiry.