A ‘sick reminder’ of a dark and embarrassing yesterday, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The remaining 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found in the area that was once a residential school for Indigenous children, a Canadian Prime Minister discovered. that Justin Trudeau was described as depressing on Friday.
The children were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia which closed in 1978, according to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation, which said the remains were found with the help of a specialist ground radar.
“We have something in our community that we have proven,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir said in a statement. “At this time, we have more questions than answers.”
Canada’s residential school system, which forcibly separated Indigenous children from their families, constituted “cultural genocide”, a six-year investigation of the now unsystematic found in 2015.
The report documents the horrific physical abuse, rape, malnutrition and other violence suffered by most of the 150,000 children who now go to schools, often run by Christian churches for Ottawa from 1840 to 1990.
It found that more than 4,100 children died while attending residential school. The deaths of 215 children buried in the grounds of what is Canada’s richest school are believed not to be included in that number and appear undocumented until discovered.
Trudeau wrote in a tweet that the news “broke my heart – it was a painful reminder of the dark and embarrassing chapter of our country’s history”.
The lingering news found at the former Kamloops school lives in my heart – it’s a painful reminder of the dark and embarrassing chapter of our country’s history. I think everyone is affected by the disturbing news. We are here for you. https://t.co/ZUfDRyAfET
– Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 28, 2021
In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologized for the system.
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation says it has partnered with the coroner and reached out to communities with children going to school this year. They expect to have preliminary findings by mid-June.
In a statement, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee called the search for the gravesites “urgent work” that “sparks grief and loss of all First Nations in British Columbia”.