Canada and the world still in shock of the mass grave found at Cowessess First Nation
Today Canadians honour the 751 Indigenous children buried in a mass grave near the grounds near former Marieval Indian Residential School site. 751 Indigenous innocent lives were stolen and the hearts of families loved ones and a nation will forever remain broken.
With the recent discovery in Kamloops B.C of the mass grave of 215 children, followed by the mass grave found in Brandon Manitoba, the atrocities of Canadian residential schools are opening up further wounds that were barely closed. As more grounds of residential schools are being searched for mass graves, it is expected more discoveries are eminent.
Residential schools represent one of Canada’s darkest moments in history. From 1883 to 1998, over 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and placed into residential schools. These schools cause physical, emotional and psychological harms to the Indigenous community.
The purpose of these schools was to eliminate Indigenous language, culture and way of life. In 1920 all Indigenous children between the age of 7 to 15 were required to attend residential schools as dictated by the Indian Act.
“With our most heartfelt respect and condolences, the City of Regina joins with communities across Saskatchewan, the country and around the world in acknowledging the truth and the pain of this tragic discovery.
I have been in touch with Chief Cadmus Delorme and have offered my deepest sympathies and the City of Regina’s full support to Cowessess First Nation. We stand by the survivors of residential schools and their descendants on their healing journey and as they undertake the important work of honoring their loved ones.
I ask all residents to care for one another in the collective grieving of lives lost and for Indigenous people and children treated without humanity. The City of Regina extends our support for the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing of Cowessess First Nation, the community throughout Treaty 4 Territory, and across Canada.
These unmarked graves are a part of the Truth we are asked to witness and learn about. We must listen to Indigenous leaders, elders and knowledge keepers and follow their guidance as we face the truth and take action towards reconciliation. Part of the action all of us can participate in moving forward is making space to understand more about the history of indigenous people, people who are our neighbors, our family, and our friends.” Said Regina Mayor Sandra Masters
Many families of residential school survivors never received closure. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, and what are the best steps moving forward. Will the bodies of the children be exhumed and given a proper burial after all efforts have been made to identify their Family members. Or will the grounds remain untouched and become a memorial site.
These are all tough conversations the Canadian government will need to have with the Indigenous community and until that happens, our thoughts and prayers lay with the 751 Indigenous children and their families.