Children's remains found at Canadian school

Tk'emlups confirms bodies of 215 children buried at former Kamloops Indian Residential School site

For decades, most Indigenous children in Canada were taken from their families and forced into boarding schools.

The remains of about 215 children were discovered buried near a school meant for First Nations students in Canada.

"This is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous peoples by the colonial state", UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said. "To me, it's always been a frightful, disgusting history".

Work to identify the site was led by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Language and Cultural Department alongside ceremonial Knowledge Keepers, who made sure the work was done in keeping with cultural protocols.

The country's residential school system forcibly separated Indigenous children from their families - a 2015 probe would make damning findings, detailing revealing a shocking web of sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children, at these schools.

A horrifying discovery at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Survivors started calling her Thursday when the discovery was made public, saying they can't sleep because the reports triggered terrible childhood memories, she said.

While there have always been rumors of unmarked graves at schools, if the findings in a preliminary report presented to the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation this week are confirmed, it will be the first time a major burial site has been discovered.

The school was shut down in 1978 and was one of the largest residential schools in Canada.

"This is the beginning but, given the nature of this news, we felt it important to share immediately", she said. "The passage of time does not erase the suffering". The federal government took over the facility's operation from the Catholic Church and ran it as a day school until it closed in 1978. In 2018, Pope Francis rejected a direct appeal for an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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The commission found evidence of neglect and maltreatment spanning decades at Kamloops.

"I'm lucky to say I'm alive", she said, adding that her mother was also a residential school survivor.

"As far we know dis missing children na deaths wey pesin no record", Ms Casimir tok.

"I'm so grateful to the survivors who had so generously shared their stories", she said.

The First Nation used ground penetrating radar over the long weekend in an effort to determine the fate of children who went missing from the school.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday described the discovery as heartbreaking.

Teegee said he spoke with Casimir about the discovery of the remains and offered support from Indigenous leaders and groups from across Canada.

Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner of British Columbia, said in an email that her office had been told of the radar findings on Thursday. Preliminary work began in the early 2000s.

Premier John Horgan on Friday issued a statement saying he was "horrified and heartbroken" to learn of the discovery. "We wish to ensure that our community members, as well as all home communities for the children who attended are duly informed".

"Given the size of the school, with up to 500 students registered and attending at any one time, we understand that this confirmed loss affects First Nations communities across British Columbia and beyond", the statement read. "It is definitely an honor to be taking care of these children".

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