Canada: Much more ground to search at former residential school in Kamloops, expert says

Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc to release final report on unmarked graves at former Kamloops residential school

  Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc to release final report on unmarked graves at former Kamloops residential school In May, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation revealed preliminary findings of a ground survey that, combined with previous knowledge, it said indicated 215 children had been buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. After working with the BC Coroners Service, the nation is now releasing exact numbers.In May, the nation released a statement saying preliminary findings from a survey of the site by ground-penetrating radar, combined with previous knowledge and oral history, indicated 215 children had been buried at the site.

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Ground-penetrating radar was used to search an apple orchard at the former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, after a child's rib bone and a tooth were found in the area, says the expert conducting the ongoing investigation.

a group of people walking down the street © Provided by The Canadian Press

Local elders and knowledge keepers have also recalled children as young as six being woken in the night to help dig gravesin the orchard, Prof. Sarah Beaulieu of the University of the Fraser Valley told a news conference on Thursday.

"Remote sensing, such as (ground-penetrating radar), is not necessary to know that children went missing in the Indian residential school context," Beaulieu said. "This fact has been recognized by Indigenous communities for generations."

Researchers say that TB at residential schools was no accident

  Researchers say that TB at residential schools was no accident (ANNews) – Two experts in tuberculosis say the mass death from TB at residential schools was no accident, but the result of deliberate neglect that was part of Canada’s broader genocidal project. Lena Faust, a PhD student at the McGill International TB Centre in Montreal, and Courtney Heffernan, manager of the Tuberculosis Program Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Alberta, acknowledged in a July 12 Globe and Mail op-ed that it’s unknown how many of the children whose remains were uncovered from unmarked graves in the past two months died as a result of TB.

The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified up to 6,000 missing children, but anticipated the actual number is greater, Beaulieu noted.

Remote sensing "merely provides some spatial specificity to this truth," she said.

The search in Kamloops has so far covered less than a hectare of the 65-hectare property, said the specialist with experience examining Indigenous and city cemeteries and searching for the graves of prisoners during the First World War.

Beaulieu showed radar images and outlined the "signatures" of 200 probable burials. Definitive results would come from forensic examination, she said, though some survivors have expressed the desire to leave the site undisturbed.

The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Nation would consult with its membership at every step of the investigation moving forward, Chief Rosanne Casimir said.

Much more ground to search at former residential school in Kamloops, expert says

  Much more ground to search at former residential school in Kamloops, expert says KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Ground-penetrating radar was used to search an apple orchard at the former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, after a child's rib bone and a tooth were found in the area, says the expert conducting the ongoing investigation. Local elders and knowledge keepers have also recalled children as young as six being woken in the night to help dig gravesin the orchard, Prof. Sarah Beaulieu of the University of the Fraser Valley told a news conference on Thursday. "Remote sensing, such as (ground-penetrating radar), is not necessary to know that children went missing in the Indian residential school context," Beaulieu said.


Video: Kamloops Nation sees itself on forefront of residential school truths (The Canadian Press)

Casimir thanked survivors of the residential school system, saying they have been "unrelenting in carrying those painful truths about missing children forward."

The nation announced in May that the ground-penetrating radar identified what are believed to be the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves. Other Indigenous nations in Canada, including the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan, have reported finding remains using the same technology.

Casimir called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the federal government and the Catholic Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate to release the complete student attendance records for the Kamloops institution so the nation can fulfil its responsibility to identify and reunite the lost children with their home communities.

Tk’emlups details next steps after radar search found probable graves

  Tk’emlups details next steps after radar search found probable graves The Tk’emlups band is calling on the federal government and the Catholic Church to release attendance records of all students who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School as it prepares to begin work identifying what it believes is the remains of children in some 200 probable graves near the building. In May, the band announced it had conducted a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey indicating the presence of more than 200 unmarked graves on the grounds of the former school, leading to international attention and outcry over Canada’s residential school system.

"Those primary documents, currently within the custody of the Canadian government, will be of critical importance to identify those lost children," she said, adding children were taken to the institution from across B.C., Alberta and Yukon.

The newly elected national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, RoseAnne Archibald, said ground-penetrating radar is revealing indisputable proof that crimes were committed in Canada's residential school system and must be investigated.

"These are crime scenes and so we need some kind of independent investigation."

Archibald said she is working urgently on the issue of unmarked burial sites, and she has made a reasonable request to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for more funding to support communities searching for lost children at former institutions.

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering with trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister Murray Rankin issued a joint statement Thursday saying the government is committed to working with the nation and others in support of the "vital work" at all residential school sites.

"We have allocated $12 million in new funding for the research at former residential school sites and for the mental health and cultural supports for communities that are critical for healing," the statement said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

‘Unthinkable circumstances’ led to children's deaths, but feelings mixed on how to move forward in Kamloops .
As Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimer pushes for student records from the federal government and Catholic church for the Kamloops Indian Residential School, at least one survivor says the bodies of the children who lie in unmarked graves located at the site should not be disturbed. Evelyn Camille was one of three survivors who spoke at an event held July 15 as Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc revealed its findings from ground penetrating radar carried out May 21 to May 24 on the grounds of the residential school. Leadership also spoke of next steps the Nation would take.

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