Canada – Remains of 215 children found buried at a school
A mass grave containing the remains of 215 children has been found in Canada at a former residential school set up to assimilate indigenous people. The children were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978.
Canada’s residential schools were compulsory boarding schools run by the government and religious authorities during the 19th and 20th Centuries with the aim of forcibly assimilating indigenous youth. Kamloops Indian Residential School was the largest in the residential system. Opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890, the school had as many as 500 students when enrolment peaked in the 1950s.
Community leaders say the investigation will continue in conjunction with the British Columbia Coroner’s Office and that community and government officials will ensure the remains are safeguarded and identified. Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe issued a statement saying that her office is early in the process of gather information.
In 2015 Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a report detailing the damaging legacy of the country’s residential school system. Thousands of mostly indigenous children were separated from their families and forced to attend residential schools.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued its final report on residential schools more than five years ago. The nearly 4,000-page account details the harsh mistreatment inflicted on indigenous children at the institutions, where at least 3,200 children died amid abuse and neglect.