Warning: The following story contains details of boarding schools that may be disturbing. The Indian boarding school survivor and family crisis hotline in Canada is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nations chief, Rosanne Casimir, on Thursday called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Immaculate Conception Mission to “immediately and completely” disclose their student attendance records so that her community can identify hundreds of children bury Take Kamloops Indian Boarding School as a reason.
Casimir said that the search in her community has just begun, and she asked the provincial and federal governments to provide funds and resources to help her community continue to investigate and protect the remains of children.
“To Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we are still waiting for you to contact us to acknowledge the latest truth about Kamloops Indian Boarding School. I am looking forward to a wonderful dialogue in which we can finalize what the federal government needs Support and access to the details of our student records,” Casimir said at a press conference in Kamloops, British Columbia.
From the late 1800s to 1996, Canada forced 150,000 Aboriginal children into assimilation institutions called “boarding schools”, where they were prohibited from practicing their culture or speaking their language. Many people have been physically and sexually abused, and thousands are believed to have died.
In May, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc was the country’s first public announcement of preliminary findings of 215 indigenous children buried in Kamloops Indian Boarding School It was discovered using ground penetrating radar.
In recent months, other indigenous people have used the same technology to search for boarding school sites, bringing the total number of indigenous people’s graves to more than 1,000—many of which have not been included in historical records, or tombstones have been removed.
Looking for a grave
On Thursday, experts said that only two acres (0.8 hectares) of the residential school site covering 160 acres (65 hectares) were searched by ground penetrating radar. Sarah Beaulieu, a radar expert who participated in the search, said that she further analyzed the possible cemeteries and concluded that there were about 200 possible graves instead of the 215 originally reported.
“With ground penetrating radar, we can never be sure that they are human remains until you dig,” she said. “They have multiple signatures, just like tombs, but because of this, we need to say that they are likely to be unearthed.”
Beaulieu said that the survivors led the search because they knew there was a grave at the site, adding that archaeologists found a juvenile tooth near the site in the late 1990s or early 2000s, and a tourist in the 2000s A child’s rib was found in the same area.
She said that there are likely to be the remains of children in the grave. “Most anomalies are located between 0.7 to 0.8 meters (27.5 to 31.5 inches) below the surface, which is quite shallow, which fits the knowledge custodian’s description that children must dig graves. On the one hand. It also applies to your juvenile burial , Because of their small length, they usually don’t dig that deep.”
Beaulieu said that the grave has not been excavated yet. It is not clear when or if the excavation will take place.
“We are here today because of the survivors and intergenerational survivors of Indian boarding schools, who have persevered in pushing the painful truth about missing children forward,” Casimir said. She said that the survivors witnessed the abuse and were asked to dig their graves, and it was because they told the truth that her community was able to verify where the children were buried.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is a multi-year process of documenting the stories of survivors, identifying 4,100 children who died in institutions—they died of abuse, neglect, disease, fire, and exposure after escape.
But how much is the full range The child died, And the cause of their death is still unknown. According to TRC, it wasn’t until 1935 that the government passed a formal policy on how to report and investigate deaths in institutions. The committee found that in half of the recorded deaths, the government did not include the cause of death.
More than 7,000 survivors of these institutions testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In its final report (PDF), the committee concluded that this practice is a cultural genocide, and Canada “set to destroy the political and social institutions of the Aboriginal people” with the purpose of seizing land.
According to the United Nations, the policy of compulsory assimilation agencies is popular all over the world-in Canada, the United States, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Russia, Scandinavia and East Africa-because it is cheaper than starting a war Aboriginal.
At the press conference, survivors of the Kamloops agency shared their stories.
Mona Jules said that her 13-year-old sister fell ill at the Kamloops facility and died, but did not notify her parents until after her death. “They want to know, why doesn’t she go to the doctor and go to the hospital? It’s just across the bridge,” she said. “There is no answer.”
Jules said she and other children were beaten for speaking indigenous languages. She is still fluent and has been teaching anyone who wants to learn all her life.
“I have spent years trying to revive what that school has killed. It is working-we have a lot of young people who speak it, and they run the language department, meet in this language, and communicate with each other. If you can, I will still work with them, and I will continue to do so for as long as possible.”