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‘Unthinkable’ discovery in Canada finds 215 children’s bodies buried near residential school

“I lost my heart It was very painful and painful to finally hear it. for the outside world We finally heard what we assumed was going on there,” Harvey McLeod, who attended the school for two years in the late 1960s, said in a phone interview with CNN Friday.

“That story is not true. Yesterday it became true for many of us in this community,” he said.

Community of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc in southern British Columbia. which is the location of the school issued a statement on Thursday evening that “An unthinkable loss that was mentioned but never recorded” has been confirmed.

“Last weekend With the help of ground-penetrating radar experts The apparent truth of the preliminary findings emerged. Confirmation of the remains of 21

5 children who were students of a residential school in Kamloops India,” said Rosanne Casimir, head of the Tk’emlaps te Secwépemc community.

“As far as we know These missing children are undocumented deaths,” she said in a statement.

McLeod said he and former students like him would wonder what happened to friends and classmates for decades.

“Sometimes people don’t come back. we are glad for them We thought they ran away without knowing what they did or what happened to them,” said McLloyd, who is currently the leader of the Upper Band. British Columbia’s Nicola

“There was talk that this could happen. that they may have passed,” he added. “What I know yesterday is how strong I was. In my youth, how strong I was to be here today. because I know that Many did not return home.”

Kamloops Indian Residential School is one of the largest in Canada and was in operation from the late 19th century to the late 1970s. The Catholic Church was open and operated until the federal government took office in the late 1970s. 1960

Harvey McLeod joined Kamloops in the late 1960s. He said the school scarred generations of First Nations members.

It was closed permanently about a decade later. and is now home to museums and community sites with cultural events and memorials.

The community leader said The investigation will continue with the British Columbia coroner’s office. And community and government officials will ensure that the remains are protected and identified. The chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe, released a statement saying her office is in the early stages of collecting data.

“We are aware of the tragic and tragic catastrophe that Canada’s residential school system has caused so many people. And our thoughts are with everyone who is grieving today,” she said.

In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a report detailing the damaging legacy of the country’s residential school system. Thousands of mostly indigenous children are separated from their families and forced to attend residential schools.

The report details decades of physical, sexual and emotional abuse that children experience in government and church-run institutions.

‘A terrifying chapter in Canadian history’

“The news that was left of Kamloops’ old school breaks my heart. It is a painful reminder of our country’s dark and shameful history. I am thinking of everyone affected by this distressing news. We are here for you, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. Tweeted on Friday

In an interview with CNN, Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s Minister for Indigenous Relations. said the revelation speaks to all Canadians about “An extremely painful truth” and a “horrendous chapter in Canadian history”.

“This is the fifth reason the Call to Action Committee of Truth and Reconciliation requires us to deal with missing children and unmarked graves because they know there is more than what they can examine. can be tested at the trial,” Bennett said.

The Commission recommended 94 calls to action for remedies and treatment. Indigenous rights groups say few have been taken. including health needs and educational equity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children.

In 2019, Trudeau said he and the government acknowledged the danger it posed to indigenous peoples in Canada as genocide. By saying that the government will move forward to “End this ongoing tragedy”

McLeod said the housing school system scared the next generation in his family and the abuse he suffered at school in Kamloops threatened him, his family and classmates.

Childhood photo of Harvey McLeod on the left.

“The abuse that happened to me was physical, yes, sexual, yes, and in 1966 I was the one who didn’t want to live anymore. It changed me,” McLeod said. By comparing the trauma he suffered with the pain of a prisoner of war.

He said he attended school in 1966 with most of his siblings.

“The seven of us went together. The same school that my mother and father went to. no choice it’s a requirement it’s the law And I can only imagine how my mother and father were. How did they feel when they sent some of us there knowing what they went through in that school?” he said.

As noted by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee Many children in residential schools do not receive adequate medical care and die prematurely from diseases such as tuberculosis.

The committee estimates that more than 4,000 children have died while in residential schools over the past several decades. But the final committee’s report admitted that the true number could not be known.

McLeod said this week’s findings at his alma mater have helped members of the community he already know talk about the abuse they’ve suffered and the intergenerational injuries that have occurred.

He said he wanted to get involved in the treatment and now wants to avoid pointing the finger or scolding.

“I forgive. I have forgiven my parents I forgive abusers I broke the chains that kept me at that school. I don’t want to be there anymore. But at the same time, the people who Not going home is recognized and honored and taken home in a good way,” he said.

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