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More than 200 bodies have been found in a former Canadian Indigenous school

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Camelops, British Columbia – The remains of 215 children, some as young as 3, are buried in the site of Canada’s largest indigenous housing school – one of the institutions that cared for children from families across the country.

Rozan Casimir, president of the first Tk’emlups te Secwépemc organization, said in a news release that the wreckage was confirmed by ground penetrating radars.

Casimir said Friday that more bodies may be found because there are more areas to search on the school grounds.

In a previous post, he described the discovery as an “unimaginable loss” that was talked about but never recorded at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. It was once Canada’s largest residential school.
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From the nineteenth century to the 1970s, more than 150,000 children of the first nations were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools as part of their assimilation program into Canadian society. They were forced to convert to Christianity and were not allowed to speak their mother tongues. Many were beaten and verbally abused, and up to 6,000 are said to have died.

The Canadian government apologized to Parliament in 2008 and acknowledged that physical and sexual harassment was rampant in schools. Many students have been beaten for speaking their mother tongue. They also lost touch with their parents and their customs.

Indigenous leaders have cited the legacy of abuse and isolation as the main reasons for the prevalence of alcohol and drug addiction in bookings.

A report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission more than five years ago said at least 3,200 children had died from abuse and neglect, with at least 51 deaths at Camelops School between 1915 and 1963 alone.

“It really raises the issue of residential schools and the scars of this genocidal legacy against indigenous peoples,” Terry Teigy, regional chairman of the First Nations Assembly for British Columbia, said Friday.

British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan said he was “terrified and heartbroken by the fear of discovery”, calling it a “tragedy of unimaginable proportions” that highlighted the violence and consequences of the residential school system.

The Camelops School operated between 1890 and 1969, when the federal government took over operations from the Catholic Church and operated it as a day school until it closed in 1978.

Casimir said the deaths are believed to be undocumented, although a local museum archive is working with the Royal Museum of British Columbia to see if any records of the deaths have been found.

“Given the size of the school, with a maximum of 500 students enrolling at any one time, we understand that this damage has been confirmed to the communities of First Nations throughout British Columbia and It affects beyond that. “

Casimir said the Tk’emlups community leadership “recognizes its responsibility to care for these missing children.”

“Access to the latest technology will enable a real accounting of missing children, and I hope it will bring peace and closure to lost lives,” he said in a statement.

Casimir said group officials would inform members of the community and surrounding communities who have children attending school.

The first UNHCR called the discovery of children’s remains “very painful” and said on a website that “this will have a significant impact on the Tk’emlúps community and the communities that this residential school serves.”

The discovery shows “the devastating and lasting effects that the residential school system continues to have on the peoples of the first nations, their families and their communities,” said Richard Jock, the agency’s managing director.

Nicole Shabos, a law professor at Thompson Rivers University, said each of her first-year law students at Camelops University spends at least one day at a former residential school talking to survivors about the conditions they endured.

He said he did not speak to survivors about an unmarked grave site, “but they all talk about children who failed to build it.”

Australia also apologized for its so-called abducted generations – thousands of Indigenous people who were forcibly removed from their families under immigration policies that lasted from 1910 to 1970.

Canada compensated those taken from their families for years spent in residential schools. This offer was part of the petition agreement.

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