Just a month after the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in Canada’s British Columbia, First Nations leaders in Saskatchewan have uncovered hundreds of unmarked graves at the site of another residential school.
Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme said the remains of 751 people were identified at the former Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated under the Catholic Church from 1886 to 1996.
The discovery may be shocking, but for members of the Cowessess it was only confirmation of what was already known in their community. “Over the past years, the oral stories of our elders of our survivors and friends of our survivors have told the stories that knew these burials were here,” Delorme said in a virtual address.
The revelation comes on the heels of the discovery of 215 children on the site of what used to be Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school, near Kamloops, British Columbia. Some of the remains discovered were estimated to have belonged to children as young as 3.
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The Cowessess First Nation began its research on June 2 using ground-penetrating radar with the help of Saskatchewan Polytechnic. While Delorme said they cannot confirm that all the remains are children, the technology flagged more than 751 graves with a 10 to 15 percent margin of error, meaning at least 600 bodies are buried at the site of the former school.