Hundreds of unmarked graves were found near the site of a former boarding school in Canada by an Indigenous community.
A statement was issued Thursday by The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) on Facebook about the findings. The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. In total, the group found 751 unmarked graves near the former residential school, calling the discovery “startling” and sending their condolences to the community. (RELATED: Trudeau Will Recognize Seperate ‘Indigenous Rights’)
The unmarked graves were found near the Marieval Indian Residential School, according to the FSIN. The school operated until the 1990s and was one of the last of its kind to close, according to NPR.
The Marieval Indian Residential School was only one in a long line of Indigenous boarding schools to operate in Canada for nearly a century. Back in 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued a report on the system that said the practice of sending Indigenous children to boarding schools amounted to cultural genocide, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Another discovery occurred May 29 when the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, in the province of British Columbia, found the remains of an estimated 215 children near the site of a previously operated government-funded boarding school for Indigenous students.
Both discoveries have reignited a nationwide discussion about Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people as Twitter users took to the platform to express their feelings on the topic.
The news that hundreds of unmarked graves have been found in Cowessess First Nation is absolutely tragic, but not surprising.
I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely difficult and emotional time. https://t.co/8SHEevtk71
— Perry Bellegarde (@perrybellegarde) June 23, 2021
SEVEN. HUNDRED. FIFTY. ONE.
751 unmarked graves have been found at a former residential school by the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan.
The next time someone tells you “This isn’t Canada”, tell them it is.
This is a country built on genocide.
— Naheed Dosani (@NaheedD) June 24, 2021
751 unmarked graves. Apologies are useless at this point, the Canadian government, the church, the RCMP all need to be held accountable for the parts they played in this.
— K Trevor Wilson (@KTrevorWilson) June 24, 2021
Chief Bobby Cameron of the FSIN said he expects more graves will be found on residential school grounds across Canada, according to NPR.
“This was a crime against humanity, an assault on First Nations,” he said in a statement. “We will not stop until we find all the bodies.”