The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin trudeau, said on Friday that his country is “horrified and ashamed” by the long-standing government policy of forcing indigenous children to attend boarding schools, where hundreds of unmarked graves have recently been found.
Over 750 graves found near former Indian school in Canada
Indigenous leaders said this week that 600 or more remains were discovered at the Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997 in the province of Saskatchewan. Last month, some 215 remains were discovered at a similar school in British Columbia.
From the 19th century through the 1970s, more than 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend Christian schools run mostly by Catholic missionaries in a forced campaign to integrate them into Canadian society.
The Canadian government has recognized that sexual abuse and physical abuse were frequent in these schools, where students were flogged for speaking in their native languages. Thousands of children died there from disease and other causes. Many never returned to their families.
That was an incredibly damaging government policy that was the reality of Canada for many, many decades and Canadians today are horrified and ashamed of the way our country behaved, ” Trudeau said.
It was a policy that ripped children from their homes, their culture and their language and forced them to assimilate. ”
Trudeau said that many Canadians will not be able to celebrate when the country marks their birth on July 1.
Canadians across the country are waking up to something that, frankly, Indigenous communities have known for a long time, ” he said.
The trauma of the past resonates a lot today. ”
Indigenous leaders have said that the internships were a system of ‘cultural genocide’.
The bodies – only one find announced Thursday – was an Indian boarding school in Marieval, where the Cowessess Indian Nation now stands, about 135 kilometers east of Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan.
An underground penetrating radar search yielded 751 “hits,” indicating there are at least 600 bodies buried in the area after accounting for a margin of error in the search technique, Cowessess chief Cadmus Delorme said.
*** MJPR ***