Daily US Times: One of Canada’s indigenous nations says it has found 751 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Saskatchewan.
The Cowessess First Nation said the discovery of the graves was “the most significantly substantial to date in Canada”.
The latest discovery comes weeks after the remains of 215 children were found at a similar residential school in British Columbia.
Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme said: “This is not a mass grave site. These are unmarked graves.”
From 1899 to 1997, the Marieval Indian Residential School was operated by the Roman Catholic Church in the area where Cowessess is now located in southeastern Saskatchewan. It is unclear if all of the remains are linked to the school.
It was one of more than 130 compulsory boarding schools run by religious authorities and funded by the Canadian government during the 19th and 20th Centuries with the aim of assimilating indigenous youth.
It is thought that an estimated 6,000 children died while attending these schools, due in large part to the squalid health conditions inside. Students were often housed in poorly heated, poorly built and unsanitary facilities.
Sexual and physical abuse at the hands of school authorities led others to run away.
The Cowessess last month began to use ground-penetrating radar to locate unmarked graves at the cemetery of the Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. The announcement made on Thursday marked the first phase of the search efforts.
Chief Delorme said there may have been markers for the graves at one point but that the Roman Catholic church, which oversaw the cemetery, may have removed them.
He said that Cowessess First Nation is “optimistic” that the church will work with them in investigating further.
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