Unmarked Indigenous graves found at another school in Canada
Hundreds of unmarked graves have been found near a former Catholic residential school in western Canada, an Indigenous group announces.
Pairs of children's shoes and toys are seen at a memorial in front of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School [File: Dennis Owen/Reuters]
24 Jun 2021
Hundreds of unmarked graves have been found near a former Catholic residential school for Indigenous children in western Canada, local media reported late on Wednesday, weeks after the discovery of the remains of hundreds of Indigenous schoolchildren sent shock waves through the country.
In a statement quoted by several Canadian media, including CBC and CTV, the Indigenous Cowessess community said on Wednesday it had made “the horrific and shocking discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves” during excavations at the former Marieval boarding school.
Indigenous people in Canada grapple with ‘unthinkable loss’
Remains of 215 Indigenous children found in Canada
The Indigenous woman who survived a desolate Arctic island
Canada PM slams church amid call for probe into Indigenous deaths
“The number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada,” the statement from the Cowessess First Nation and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations (FSIN), which represents Saskatchewan’s First Nations, said.
Last month, the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia.
The new find was made at the Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997 where Cowessess is now located, about 140km (87 miles) east of Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.
‘Absolutely tragic’
Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said the news was “absolutely tragic, but not surprising. I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely difficult and emotional time.”
After the discovery of the remains in British Columbia, excavations were undertaken near several former schools for Indigenous children across Canada, with the assistance of government authorities.
The Marieval residential school in eastern Saskatchewan hosted Indigenous children between 1899 and 1997 before being demolished and replaced by a day school.
Some 150,000 Native American, Metis and Inuit children were forcibly sent up until the 1990s in 139 of these residential schools across Canada, where they were isolated from their families, their language and their culture to assimilate them into Canadian society.
‘Cultural genocide’
Many were subjected to ill-treatment and sexual abuse, and more than 4,000 died in the schools, according to a commission of inquiry that concluded Canada had committed “cultural genocide” against its Indigenous communities.
The latest finds have revived calls on the Pope and the Catholic Church to apologise for the abuse and violence suffered by the students at these boarding schools, where they were forcibly assimilated into the dominant culture.
United Nations rights experts called on Canada and the Catholic Church to carry out thorough investigations in the wake of the latest finds, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blasted the church for ignoring its past crimes.
The Canadian government apologised in parliament in 2008 and admitted that physical and sexual abuse in the schools was rampant.
Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages; they also lost touch with their parents and customs.
Indigenous leaders have cited that legacy of abuse and isolation as the root cause of epidemic rates of alcoholism and drug addiction on reservations.
No papal apology in Canada Indigenous abuses ‘shameful’: Official
The comments follow discovery of graves of 215 children at boarding school that had been run by Catholic Church.
3 Jun 2021
Canada to Indigenous women: ‘Our systems have failed you’
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promises resources to address violence against Indigenous women.
3 Jun 2021
Canada: China seeks probe into Indigenous children’s remains
Joined by Russia, Iran, North Korea and other allies, China calls on UN Human Rights Council to investigate.
22 Jun 2021
Tunisia’s president fires ambassador to US, governor of Sfax
Japan’s Yosozumi wins battle of teens for Olympic skateboarding
Claims of bias against aid workers in Tigray ‘dangerous’, says UN
China’s Alibaba misses revenue estimates on the back of crackdown
Afghans chant ‘Allahu Akbar’ in defiant protests against Taliban
Evidence points to secret Indian navy base on Mauritian island
How do Afghanistan forces and Taliban compare?
Afghan families flee homes in south amid Taliban advance
Our Channels
Our Network
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2021 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless.
You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen. To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.
Cookie preferences