A “painful reminder” of a dark and shameful past, says Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The remains of 215 children, some as young as three, were found at the site of a former residential school for Indigenous children, a discovery that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as heartbreaking on Friday.
The children were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia which closed in 1978, according to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc nation, which said the remains were found with the help of a penetrating radar specialist. the sun.
“We had knowledge in our community that we were able to verify,” Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc chief Rosanne Casimir said in a statement. “Right now, we have more questions than answers.”
From Canada residential school system, which forcibly separated indigenous children from their families, constituted a “cultural genocide,” a six-year investigation into the now-defunct system found in 2015.
The report documented horrific physical abuse, rape, malnutrition and other atrocities suffered by many of the 150,000 children who attended schools, usually run by Christian churches on behalf of Ottawa from the 1840s to the 1990s. .
It was found that more than 4,100 children died while attending a residential school. It is believed that the deaths of the 215 children buried in the grounds of Canada’s largest former residential school were not included in that figure and appear to have been undocumented until the discovery.
Trudeau wrote in a tweet that the news “breaks my heart, it’s a painful reminder of this dark and shameful chapter in our country’s history.”
The news that was found in the old residential school in Kamloops breaks my heart: it is a painful memory of this dark and shameful chapter in the history of our country. I am thinking of all those affected by this distressing news. We are here for you. https://t.co/ZUfDRyAfET
– Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 28, 2021
In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologized for the system.
The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc nation said it was interacting with the coroner and contacting the communities of origin whose children attended school. They hope to have preliminary conclusions by mid-June.
In a statement, the regional head of the Assembly of First Nations of British Columbia, Terry Teegee, considered that the finding of these tombs was “an urgent work” that “refreshes the pain and loss of all Nations in British Columbia “.