In Canada, at least 751 unmarked graves have been found at a former boarding school for First Nations children in Saskatchewan. The graves were found near the site of the now-demolished Marieval Indian Residential School. This is Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme speaking at a press conference Thursday.
Cadmus Delorme: “We all must put down our ignorance and accidental racism of not addressing the truth that this country has with Indigenous people. We are not asking for pity, but we are asking for understanding. … We didn’t remove these headstones. Removing headstones is a crime in this country. And we are treating this like a crime scene at the moment.”
The graves were found just weeks after the bodies of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia were discovered. Some 150,000 Indigenous children attended Canadian government-funded boarding schools, which were established in the 19th century and run by the Catholic Church. Many children were ripped from their families and sent to the schools, which were found to be rife with abuse and neglect. Canada’s 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission said the schools were committing “cultural genocide.” Public pressure is now mounting to hold the Catholic Church accountable for its atrocities and to remove monuments to Canadian leaders involved in the genocide of First Nations people.