Canada B.C. First Nation says more than 160 unmarked graves found
First Nation considering whether to excavate unmarked graves at former Kamloops residential school
The apple orchard near the Kamloops Indian Residential School was chosen for a search for unmarked graves because a rib bone and tooth had previously been found in the area, and school survivors recalled digging graves for classmates, the local First Nation revealed at a press conference Thursday. “We are not here for retaliation. We are here for truth telling,” said Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir. “We seek peace and knowing, as soon as possible.
The Penelakut Tribe in B.C.'s Southern Gulf Islands says it has found more than 160 "undocumented and unmarked" graves in the area, which was also once home to the Kuper Island Residential School.
The tribe informed neighbouring First Nations communities of the discovery in a newsletter posted online on Monday morning.
"We are inviting you to join us in our work to raise awareness of the Kuper Island Industrial School, and Confirmation of the 160+ undocumented and unmarked graves in our grounds and foreshore," the notice said.
Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc to release final report on unmarked graves at former Kamloops residential school
In May, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation revealed preliminary findings of a ground survey that, combined with previous knowledge, it said indicated 215 children had been buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. After working with the BC Coroners Service, the nation is now releasing exact numbers.In May, the nation released a statement saying preliminary findings from a survey of the site by ground-penetrating radar, combined with previous knowledge and oral history, indicated 215 children had been buried at the site.
No further details were provided. The tribe did not say how the graves were found, whether children's remains are suspected of being buried there or whether ground-penetrating radar was used.
Officials did not respond to multiple requests for interviews.
The school operated from 1890 to the 1970s on Penelakut Island, formerly known as Kuper Island, which is among the Southern Gulf Islands.
On Thursday, the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation near Kamloops, B.C., is expected to reveal further details of its recent discovery, on the grounds of another former residential school, of what were said to be the buried remains of an estimated 215 children.
A series of similar, grim announcements followed, linked to former residential schools in B.C. and Saskatchewan.
Penelakut Chief Joan Brown encouraged residential school survivors to heal in the newsletter.
"It is impossible to get over acts of genocide and human rights violations. Healing is an ongoing process, and sometimes it goes well, and sometimes we lose more people because the burden is too great," Brown said.
She invited community members to participate in the March for the Children in Chemainus, B.C., on Aug. 2 to remember the students who were forced to attend the Kuper Island Residential School and to move forward on the path to healing and reconciliation.
‘Unthinkable circumstances’ led to children's deaths, but feelings mixed on how to move forward in Kamloops .
As Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimer pushes for student records from the federal government and Catholic church for the Kamloops Indian Residential School, at least one survivor says the bodies of the children who lie in unmarked graves located at the site should not be disturbed. Evelyn Camille was one of three survivors who spoke at an event held July 15 as Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc revealed its findings from ground penetrating radar carried out May 21 to May 24 on the grounds of the residential school. Leadership also spoke of next steps the Nation would take.