One other “horrible” discovery of the stays of indigenous youngsters in Canada
When the commission tried to investigate the issue of missing indigenous children, the then Conservative government rejected its request for funds to fund searches. Now, several federal governments have offered to fund the search for the Kamloops discovery. On Tuesday, the government announced that it would allocate nearly C $ 4.9 million (about $ 3.9 million) to indigenous communities in Saskatchewan to search for graves. The provincial government had previously pledged Canadian dollars ($ 1.6 million).
In a statement, Saskatchewan Prime Minister Scott Moe predicted the remains of more children would be found elsewhere. “Unfortunately, other First Nations in Saskatchewan will experience the same shock and despair as the search for graves continues,” he wrote.
Like Kamloops, Marieval School, which opened in 1899, has been run by the Roman Catholic Church for the Canadian government for most of its history. A marked cemetery still exists on the site of the school, which was closed in 1997 and then demolished. The commission, based on testimonials from former students and archive materials, listed the Marieval School as a likely location for unmarked graves.
The commission asked for a papal apology for the role of the church, which ran about 70 percent of the schools. (The rest were led by Protestant denominations.) But despite a personal appeal from Mr. Trudeau to the Vatican, Pope Francis has still not taken this step. In contrast, the leadership of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, apologized in 1986 for their role in running the school.
Former Saskatchewan residential school students have been particularly active in litigation against the government that led to financial settlements and the establishment of a commission that over six years heard more than 6,700 witnesses testify.
Since the Kamloops announcement, Chief Cameron said he has toured the province where agriculture and mining are major industries and looked at former school sites.
“You can see with the naked eye the indentation in the floor where these corpses can be found,” he said of some places. “These children are sitting there waiting to be found.”
Vjosa Isai contributed to the research.