Identifying the Indigenous Children and Adult Victims Could Take Decades

Less than a month after the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found buried in unmarked graves near the former Kamloops Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., there has been another devastating discovery. Cowessess First Nation has shared that 751 unmarked graves at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.

Forensic experts say identifying the remains of the Indigenous children and adults could take decades. Specialized expertise and technology, along with the First Nation oral history of the trauma and memories of the survivors and their descendants are required when identifying the victims.

The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nations have already begun the work to identify the 215 children whose bodies were found at the Kamloops site.

Prime minister Trudeau has said the findings at the Marieval Residential School grounds on Cowessess First Nation are “part of a larger tragedy” and a “shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced – and continue to face – in this country.” He also shared that the federal government will continue to provide funding to communities to “bring these terrible wrongs to light.”

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free line is: 1 (800) 721-0066.

A 24-hour crisis line for residential school survivors is: 1 (866) 925-4419 if you require further emotional support or assistance.

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