Hundreds More Unmarked Graves Found at Former Residential School in Canada

Hundreds More Unmarked Graves Found at Former Residential School in Canada ...
nytimes.com 26/06/2021 News

Keywords:#Alberta, #American, #British, #Cameron, #Canada, #Columbia, #Indigenous, #Nations, #Native_American, #Nytimes.com, #United_States

An Indigenous group said the remains of as many as 751 people, mainly children, had been found in unmarked graves on the site of a former boarding school in Saskatchewan.
CALGARY, Alberta — For decades, the Indigenous children were taken from their families, sometimes by force, and housed in crowded, church-run boarding schools, where they were abused and prohibited from speaking their languages. Thousands vanished altogether.
Now, a new discovery offers chilling evidence that many of the missing children may have died at these schools: The remains of as many as 751 people, mainly Indigenous children, were found at the site of a former school in the province of Saskatchewan, an Indigenous group said on Thursday.
The burial site, the largest one to date, was uncovered only weeks after the remains of 215 children were found in unmarked graves on the grounds of another former church-run school for Indigenous students in British Columbia.
The discoveries have jolted a nation grappling with generations of widespread and systematic abuse of Indigenous people, many of whom are survivors of the boarding schools. For decades, they suggested through their oral histories that thousands of children disappeared from the schools, but they were often met with skepticism. The revelations of two unmarked grave sites are another searing reminder of this traumatic period in history.
“This was a crime against humanity, an assault on a First Nation people,” said Chief Bobby Cameron, of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the provincial federation of Indigenous groups. “The only crime we ever committed as children was being born Indigenous,” he said.
The burial site also puts new pressure on the current government of Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, which even today relies on a set of laws that govern the lives of Indigenous people that date back to the 19th century. Indigenous leaders say they hope the latest revelations will be a catalyst for their long sought-after self-governance.
“We are tired of being told what to do and how to do it,” said Chief Cadmus Delorme, of the Cowessess First Nation.
The recent unearthing of remains in Canada has reverberated globally, including in the United States, where this week the interior secretary said the country would search federal boarding schools for possible burial sites of Native American children. Hundreds of thousands of them were forcibly taken from their communities to be culturally assimilated in the schools for more than a century.
It is unclear how the children died at the schools, which were buffeted by disease outbreaks a century ago, and where children faced sexual, physical and emotional abuse and violence. Some former students of the schools have described the bodies of infants born to girls impregnated by priests and monks being incinerated.
Both schools were part of a system started in the 19th century that took Indigenous children from their families.
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