Canada: Unmarked Graves Of 751 Indigenous Children Discovered At The Site Of A Residential School Operated By Catholic Church

Canada: Unmarked Graves Of 751 Indigenous Children Discovered At The Site Of A Residential School Operated By Catholic Church


Unmarked Grave
Snapshot
  • More than 750 unmarked graves have been found near a former Catholic boarding school for indigenous children in Saskatchewan province of Canada

    Last month, the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were discovered in British Columbia, Canada, buried underneath on the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School, a former Catholic institution for indigenous children.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the discovery of grave was "a shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced".

More than 750 unmarked graves have been found near a former Catholic boarding school for indigenous children in Saskatchewan province of Canada, Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation announced on Thursday (Jun 24).

The graves were discovered on the site of the Marieval Indian residential school, also known as Grayson, after a search with ground-penetrating radar was launched on 2 June.

The Marieval Indian Residential School was operated by the Roman Catholic Church from 1899 to 1997.

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "terribly saddened" by the discovery in Saskatchewan. He said it was "a shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced".

Last month, the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were discovered in British Columbia, Canada, buried underneath on the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School, a former Catholic institution for indigenous children.

Kamploops, which was shut in 1978, was one of boarding schools established with the objective to obliterate First Nation culture. The school was run by the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969. The institutions were notorious for the brutality it unleashed on the children. The school had a peak enrolment of 500 in the 1950s.

From the 19th century, more than 150,000 First Nations children were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of a program to assimilate them into mainstream Canadian society.

The indigenous children were forced to convert to Christianity and not allowed to speak their native languages. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and thousands died from disease, neglect and suicide. Up to 6,000 are said to have died. Physical and sexual abuse at the hands of school authorities led others to run away.

Canada's residential school system, which forcibly separated indigenous children from their families, constituted "cultural genocide," a six-year investigation had found in 2015.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined that the residential schools were a system of "cultural genocide". It concluded that at least 4,100 students died while attending the schools, many of them due to abuse, negligence, disease, or accident.

The report highlighted in a great detail the horrific physical abuse, rape, malnutrition and other atrocities suffered by many of the 150,000 children who attended the schools, typically run by Christian churches on behalf of Ottawa from the 1840s to the 1990s.

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