At the site of a former boarding school run by the Roman Catholic Church, 169 potential burial sites have been discovered

Another First Nation found graves of Aboriginal children on the grounds of a former residential school.

The Kapawe’no First Nation in Alberta, Canada, announced its findings on Tuesday, March 1 during a Facebook live event.

In October, the Nation asked specialists from the Institute of Prairie and Native Archeology at the University of Alberta to conduct penetrating radar on an acre of land in the former St. Bernard Mission grounds. or the Grouard boarding school. The school was run by the Roman Catholic Church between 1894 and 1961.

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One hundred and sixty-nine potential graves were indicated in the survey.

“We don’t need the results of the GPR to know that the children have not returned from school,” said Kisha Supernant (Métis / Papaschase / Briton), head of the investigation at a press conference. Tuesday. “The knowledge of survivors and the many archival documents already contained clear information about the children who died while in residence here. The use of ground penetrating radar techniques is used to try to identify where these children are buried.

Outside the community cemetery, numerous potential burial sites were found near the church, the root cellar, and the former dormitories of the nuns.

The results of the Nation’s Phase 1 investigation show there is “a long journey” to find out each child’s name and what happened to them, Supernant said.

Treaty 8 Grand Chief Arthur Noskey said on Tuesday he felt deep sadness whenever he heard of the discovery of more native graves.

To date, over 1,800 unmarked graves have been identified in the former residential schools. More recently, in mid-February, the Keeseekoose First Nation in Saskatchewan announced the discovery of 54 suspected Aboriginal graves at the sites of two former residential schools.

“It’s like this wound can’t heal,” Noskey said. “It is reopened again and again. And when you think it will get better, it splits again. Every day, nations and communities in this country continue to find more remains of our ancestors. How can we heal if we haven’t found them all? »

For help or resources in Canada, a National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for those directly or indirectly affected by the Indian Residential Schools era, and can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.

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Jenna Kunze
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Jenna Kunze is a reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. His bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Anchorage Daily News. In 2020, she was one of 16 American journalists selected by the Pulitzer Center to report on the effects of climate change in the Arctic region of Alaska. Previously, she was a senior reporter at the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, Alaska. Kunze is based in New York.

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