The Kamloops Indian Residential School was one of dozens of boarding schools found by the Canadian government’s Department of Indian Affairs in the 19th century to assimilate native people into European cultural practices.
Children were forcibly taken from their families, and in schools, they were systematically subjected to abuse and neglect.
The remains of 215 indigenous children, some as young as three years old, were discovered buried at a former residential school in Canada.
According to a statement from Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation, a native group, the children were pupils at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, which was shut down in 1978.
The bones were discovered with the help of a ground-penetrating radar specialist. None of them have been identified, and the causes of death remain unknown to date.
According to the statement, survivors are concerned that more deaths will be discovered at the same location, as well as the other 80 former residential school locations across Canada.
Police chief Casimir added that according to the organization’s understanding, the missing children “are undocumented deaths.”
Casimir also stated they began exploring the school grounds for the corpses of missing children in the early 2000’s because they had long felt that the official explanations for the runaway children were part of a state cover-up.
Friends and classmates of those who attended the school disappeared unexpectedly and were never seen or heard from again, according to survivors.
One of the children attending the Kamloops school, Chief Harvey McLeod of the Upper Nicola Band, said the terrible finding brought back sad memories of his time there, CNN reported following the news of the discovery.
McLeod was sent to the school with seven of his siblings in 1966, and he claims he was physically and sexually abused there.
He reportedly said parents were also students at the institution, and he believes it must have been traumatic for them to drop their children off there knowing what was in store for them.
He added that living survivors of the school had wondered for decades about the fate of their fellow students who vanished.
The inquiry will continue in collaboration with the British Columbia Coroner’s Office, and community and government officials will ensure the remains are secured and identified, according to community leaders.
The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s run investigation found as a result of a six-year review into Canada’s now-defunct residential school system that it constituted “cultural genocide” by forcefully separating indigenous children from their families.
Many of the 150,000 children who attended the schools, which were usually managed by Christian churches on behalf of state governments from the 1840’s to the 1990’s, suffered horrible physical abuse, rape, hunger, and other atrocities, according to the Daily Mail.
More than 4,100 students died in residential schools, according to the investigation’s findings.
Many Canadian politicians and ordinary citizens were shocked by the discovery, as public outrage continues to mount, while many people continue to carry flowers and baby shoes to the temporary memorial sites established by the former school and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
The news also shocked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who described it as “a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s colonial history.”
Canadian Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Dr. Carolyn Benntett echoed the words of the prime minister, calling the loss of children who went to these schools “unthinkable.”
Trudeau reportedly formally asked Pope Francis to apologize for the Catholic Church’s involvement in the school system in 2017.
Many netizens, at the same time, were puzzled over the strangely low coverage of the terrifying discovery in the national media, noting that either one or two lines have been given to the shocking revelations, or it is not mentioned at all.
Nonetheless, the report’s legal experts predict that the finding will result in a new wave of lawsuits, but no criminal prosecutions.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Genocide Blog News 2021.