'It was devastating,' chief recalls after remains of 215 children found in B.C. | The Star


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Via:  monstermash  •  3 weeks ago  •  5 comments

By:   thestar. com

'It was devastating,' chief recalls after remains of 215 children found in B.C. | The Star
KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Hundreds of pegs, each marking the possible site of a child's remains, were staked out on the grounds of a former residential school ...

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

By The Canadian PressFri., May 28, 2021timer3 min. readupdateArticle was updated 3 hrs ago

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Hundreds of pegs, each marking the possible site of a child's remains, were staked out on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops B.C., when Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir arrived at the site last weekend.

The First Nation used ground penetrating radar over the long weekend in an effort to determine the fate of children who went missing from the school.

"It was shared with me that it was children from our community … it was devastating and quite mind boggling," Casimir said on Friday.

The survey work has uncovered the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The band has begun reaching out to other First Nations across Western Canada that might have had children sent to the school who never returned home.

Casimir said what the nation called "the knowing" about the missing children fuelled the search.

Her mother and grandmother shared stories of abuse at the school and Casimir said the community has pushed for answers on what happened to the students.

"It's a harsh reality and it's our truths. It's our history and it's something we've always had to fight to prove."

The results are preliminary with a final report expected at the end of June, but more remains could be discovered, she added.

The BC Coroners Service has been notified and more work will be carried out on the site.

One residential school survivor has had flashbacks about his time at the institution since the discovery.

Upper Nicola Band Chief Harvey McLeod attended the school from 1966 to 1968. He recalls speaking with his friends about children who were just gone one day.

"We talked among ourselves, the boys and I, my friends and I, we talked about it saying they probably ran away and we were happy that they probably got home."

McLeod said the discovery of the remains brought back memories of his time at the school.

"I was shattered. It just broke me when I heard about it," he said in an interview. "It's a secret, or it's something we knew that may have happened there, but we had no evidence."

The school operated between 1890 and 1969. The federal government took over the facility's operation from the Catholic Church and ran it as a day school until it closed in 1978.

The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission has records of at least 51 children dying at the school between 1914 and 1963.

The commission noted in its 2015 report that officials in 1918 believed children at the school were not being adequately fed, leading to malnutrition.

Manny Jules, who was chief of the Tk'emlups for 16 years, said he wants an apology from the Catholic Church for its role in operating residential schools across the country.



Bishop Joseph Nguyen expressed his "deepest sympathy" on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops to Casimir and the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation.

"No words of sorrow could adequately describe this horrific discovery," he said in a statement.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan said he was "horrified and heartbroken" when he learned of the burial site.

The discovery is a tragedy of "unimaginable proportions" and highlights the violence and consequences of the residential school system, Horgan said in a statement on Friday.

The head of the First Nations Health Authority said it will provide mental health and trauma support to community members as the search continues.

Richard Jock, the authority's CEO, said the legacy of colonialism leads to modern-day trauma and health issues in Indigenous communities.

"This particular event may be seen as historical but it's also a continuous trend, I would say, of this power imbalance, if you would, that creates these issues for First Nations people."

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said what has been found "is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous Peoples by the colonial state."

"There are no words to express the deep mourning that we feel as First Nations people, and as survivors, when we hear an announcement like this," he said in a statement. "These were children — all belonging to a family and community, and a nation — who were forcibly stolen from their homes under the authority of the Canadian government, and never returned."

Chief Don Tom, the union's vice-president, noted the first-ever meeting of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs was held on the former grounds of the Kamloops residential school in 1969.

— By Nick Wells in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2021.


jrDiscussion - desc
Sophomore Participates
1  seeder  MonsterMash    3 weeks ago

No telling how many other residential schools run by the Catholic Church were dens of horror for children being murdered, suffering from malnutrition, physical, mental, and sexual abuse.

Professor Principal
1.1  Kavika   replied to  MonsterMash @1    3 weeks ago

Yes, there is a telling and it wasn't all the Catholic Church in Canada. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission did an extensive investigation and 4400 children that died were identified and there are appx another 2,000 that they believed died but no records of any kind exist. These 215 children are probably part of that number. 

In Canada, the Church's that ran these ''so-called schools'' was the Catholic Church, The Church of Canada, and the Anglican Church.

The exact same thing took place in the US and there were called ''Indian Boarding Schools'' of which there were well over 100 in the US run by a number of different churches including the Catholic church.

The US has never acknowledged its part in this cultural genocide.

Do not forget that both the Canadian and US governments were the force behind these so-called schools. There is no escaping it all of the churches and governments have blood on their hands.

This is an article on the ''Indian Boarding School'' that I'm intimately familiar with.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
2  Buzz of the Orient    3 weeks ago

Residential Schools, both in the United States and Canada, have been closed down.  Canada's Prime Minister has apologized to the First Nations people for the government's role in their existence.  Has the American government paid reparations, or at least apologized for its role?

  1. Canada Agrees to Reparations for All Residential School ...

    canada ...

    Canada   Agrees to   Reparations   for All   Residential School   Students On May 30, the   Canadian   government signed an agreement with the Assembly of First Nations pledging to   pay   a lump sum in compensation for former students of Indian   residential schools.   The   Residential School   Political Agreement marks an unprecedented policy shift for   Canada.

Freshman Principal
3  Hallux    3 weeks ago

Chief Rosanne Casimir called the discovery an “unthinkable loss that was spoken about, but never documented by the Kamloops Indian Residential School,” which was the largest school in the country’s Indian Affairs residential school system.

Cheryl Casimer of the FNS political executive said it is unconscionable to realize 215 lives were taken, with bodies then hidden in unmarked graves.

“This discovery is yet another blight on Canada’s history and further proof of the genocide resulting from the horrific Indian residential school system,” she said.

In December 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report concluded the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide.

Added FNS political executive member Lydia Hwitsum: “The Indian residential school system was created to strip our people of every element of our cultures and assimilate us into Canadian society. We all know the devastating impacts these horrific institutions have had and continue to have on our communities to this very day, as a result of the physical and emotional abuses that took place. With the discovery of the remains of these children at one school site, we have to wonder how many children across Canada paid the ultimate price of losing their lives while attending one of these dreadful schools.”

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs also issued statements on the discovery.

“There are no words to express the deep mourning that we feel as First Nations people and as survivors when we hear an announcement like this,”said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the UBCIC’s president.

“These were children — all belonging to a family and community and a nation — who were forcibly stolen from their homes under the authority of the Canadian government and never returned. We call upon Canada, and all of those who call yourselves Canadians, to witness and recognize the truth of our collective history. This is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous peoples by the colonial state. Today we honour the lives of those children and hold prayers that they, and their families, may finally be at peace.”

Neskonlith Indian Band Chief Judy Wilson, who is the UBCIC’s secretary-treasurer, said the Secwépemc people are grieving their relatives.

“Though we knew that many children never returned home, and their families were left without answers, this confirmation brings a particular heaviness to our hearts and our spirits all throughout Secwépemculecw,” Wilson said.

“I hold my hands up to Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir and to the people of Tk’emlups for undertaking this difficult, but critical work to identify and honour each of the spirits who were lost to this institution of state-sanctioned genocide, and the ongoing work to bring closure and healing to their families and communities. We stand beside you in prayer and in honouring each and every one of them.”

Professor Expert
4  1stwarrior    3 weeks ago

Kill the Indian, save the man .” Pratt believed that off-reservation schools established in white communities could accomplish this task. By immersing Indians into the mainstream of American life, the “outing” system created by Pratt had students living among white families during the summer. He hoped Indian youths would not return to the reservations but rather become part of the white community. 

Nearly 200 Native children lie buried  at the entrance of the Carlisle Barracks in the “Indian Cemetery” — the first thing you see when entering one of the United States’ oldest military installations. It is a grisly monument to the country’s most infamous boarding school, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which opened in 1879 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and closed in 1918. Chiseled onto the white granite headstones, arranged in the uniform rows typical of veterans’ cemeteries in the U.S., are the names and tribal affiliations of children who came to Carlisle but never left. Thirteen gravestones list neither name nor tribe; they simply read “UNKNOWN.”

In those early years, more students died at the school than graduated from it. And if one did escape death and return home, that survivor became, in Standing Bear’s words, “an utter stranger” to their own family.


The boarding school experience for Indian children began in 1860 when the Bureau of Indian Affairs established the first  Indian boarding school  on the Yakima Indian Reservation in the state of Washington.

By the 1880s, the U.S. operated 60 schools for 6,200 Indian students, including reservation day schools and reservation boarding schools.

Indian parents also banded together to withdraw their children en masse, encouraging runaways and undermining the schools’ influence during summer and school breaks. An  1893 court ruling  increased pressure to keep Indian children in Boarding schools. It was not until 1978 with the passing of the  Indian Child Welfare Act  that Native American parents gained the legal right to deny their children’s placement in off-reservation schools.

In addition to coping with the severe discipline, Indian students were ravaged by disease at boarding schools. Tuberculosis and trachoma (“sore eyes”) were the greatest threats. In December of 1899, measles broke out at the  Phoenix Indian School , reaching epidemic proportions by January. In its wake, 325 cases of measles, 60 cases of pneumonia, and 9 deaths were recorded in a 10-day period.


"We're from the govn'mt and we're here to help you"

Yeah - right.

How many White kids or Black or Latino or Asian kids were taken from their homes and placed in a "boarding school" so they could be assimilated into "white people"????


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