Dozens of possible burial sites found near former Indigenous school in Canada
Dozens of possible burial sites were found near a former Indigenous school in Canada, Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars said Tuesday.
The sites were found near St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School, the latest in a series of burial site discoveries over the past year as Canada reckons with the history of Indigenous schools.
Officials said the sites were discovered using ground-penetrating radar when “reflections” were seen that resembled human burial sites, The Washington Post reported.
An excavation would need to be done in order to definitively determine if the reflections are burial sites.
“Today’s news from Williams Lake First Nation brings a lot of distressing emotions to the surface. My heart breaks for the members of the community, and for those whose loved ones never came home,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Tuesday.
“Together, with their leadership, we’ll continue to advance healing and reconciliation — and share the truths that Indigenous peoples from across the country have long known,” he added.
In 2021, hundreds of unmarked graves near Indigenous schools were found.
Canada’s government separated around 150,000 Indigenous children from their families between the late 1800s and the mid-1900s, sending them to schools to assimilate them and barring them from any connection with their culture.
The schools have been found to have abused children, some of whom died, leading to the mass burial grounds near the institutions.
In early January, Canada agreed to pay $31.5 billion in a settlement for the treatment of Indigenous children.
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