“It’s something that we’ve always had to fight to prove. To me, it’s always been a horrible, horrible history.”
Native people and every other Canadian have been shocked by the harsh discovery of Canada’s horrible history of genocide against natives.
The chief of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Indigenous community reported on Thursday that they had found the remains of 215 indigenous children buried in a grave at the Canada Boarding School. Some remains showed the children were as young as three years old.
This horrific discovery at the Kamloops Indian Residential School shows what happened to the great number of indigenous children that were seized from their homes by the Canadian government. This event validates the worst possible fears of the Tk’emlúps community as to what happened to their loved ones that got lost.
“It’s a harsh reality, and it’s our truth, it’s our history,” Chief Rosanne Casimir said at a news conference, reports New York Times. “And it’s something that we’ve always had to fight to prove. To me, it’s always been a horrible, horrible history.”
According to Chief Casimir, there had always been “a knowing” about this horrific history at the boarding school. The proof of this terrible event was unearthed with the help of ground-penetrating radar technology.
The boarding school had been operating from the 1890s to the late 1970s. Its enrollment peaked in the 1950s with 500 students. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada confirmed that a large number of indigenous children either died or fled the schools, their whereabouts being unknown. Former students of that boarding school have confirmed that they were subjected to physical, mental, and sexual abuse during their time at the school.
The area where the school was located has been closed since the crews are still looking for any more possible remains.
Children as young as three years old were studying at the school. This school was, at the time, one of the largest boarding schools in Canada.
Although it is believed that these deaths were never documented, some indigenous scholars have been working alongside the Royal British Columbia Museum to look for any possible record that might exist.
According to Chief Casimir, the Tk’emlups community will take complete responsibility to bring justice to the hundreds of “lost children.”
“We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children,” Chief Casimir said in a statement.
The work to identify the site started in the early 2000s. It was led by the Indigenous authorities. The recent breakthrough was achieved when they used state-of-the-art radar technology to look for potential mass graves.
“With access to the latest technology, the true accounting of the missing students will hopefully bring some peace and closure to those lives lost and their home communities,” Casimir noted. “At this time, we have more questions than answers,” Casimir added.