The chief of the Indigenous nation where the discovery was made of what are believed to be the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., says there is no road map for the grieving and healing work to be done.
Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir says the nation has been “constantly, collectively grappling with the heart-wrenching truth brought to light.”
She says there’s been an outpouring of support and people who have expertise or information that may be useful in the ongoing investigation at the grave site of the former residential school are invited to contact the nation.
Casimir says the nation wants a public apology from the Catholic Church.
She adds that the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which ran almost half of Canada’s residential schools, has yet to release any records about the school.
Casimir says the nation’s findings are so far preliminary and she expects a final report, including technical details, will be ready by the end of the month.
Tk’emlups te Secwepemc announced last week that it had used the services of a ground-penetrating radar specialist to find the remains of children long believed missing from the school, some as young as three years old.
Steady streams of people have stopped to pay their respects, and leave flowers, shoes and stuffed animals at the memorial to survivors outside the former school.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on Canada’s residential school system detailed harsh mistreatment of Indigenous children at the government-funded, church-run schools, where at least 4,100 children died.
The discovery last week has sparked countrywide grief and anger about the children’s treatment and calls for more searches at the institutions across Canada.
—The Canadian Press