Indigenous Canadian groups announced plans on Saturday to identify the bodies of 215 children, some under three, who were found buried at a boarding school, CBC News reported.
The big picture: The discovery of the remains of children Tk’emlaps te Secwépemc First Nation has called on the Roman Catholic Church to apologize for its role in 19th- and 20th-century Canadian policies that resulted in the removal of indigenous children from their families in order to attending a state-funded residential school
- Nearly 150,000 children in the school from 1883 to 1996 to “melt” into white Canadian society were neglected and abused. because their native language and culture were forbidden. Washington Post reports
- The Canadian government apologized in 2008, admitting widespread physical and sexual abuse in schools.
Details: Tk̵7;emlaps te Secwépemc, the country’s first head, Rosane Casimir, said in a statement announcing the discovery on Thursday: “According to our knowledge These missing children are undocumented deaths.”
- She later said in a statement: More bodies could be opened at Kamloops Indian Residential School run by the Catholic Church. which closed in 1978 because the entire area was not searched.
- First Nations regional head Terry Teegee told CBC that forensic experts will join the BC Coroners Service and the Royal BC Museum to identify them.
- Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted on Friday that the findings were “A painful reminder of the dark and shameful history of our nation’s history.”
note: The Roman Catholic Church declined to apologize for its role in what Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission found in 2015 to be cultural genocide. Pope Francis to request
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called on the pope to apologize, but Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Executive Director of Child and Family Care, noted on Friday that “The Catholic Church hasn’t done that yet. and must accept full responsibility to indemnify the family” per CTV News.
What are they saying: Archbishop of Vancouver J. Michael Miller said in a statement to CTV News:[W]promise to do whatever it takes to cure that suffering.”
Between the lines: Although the cause of the children’s deaths is unknown, “accidents, fires and infectious diseases in residential schools all contribute to the high death rates. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has assessed more than 4,000 children,” the Washington Post said.
Editor’s Note: This article is updated with new details throughout.