160 Unmarked Graves Found In Another Horrific Discovery Near Former Residential School

Canada deals with another shocking discovery of at least 160 unmarked graves close to a former Residential School. 

By Maryam Razzaq

The Penelakut Tribe from south-western British Colombia confirmed in a statement made late Monday that at least 160 unmarked graves discovered near former Kuper Island Residential School on Penelakut Island. The Kuper Island Residential School was in operation from 1890 to 1975.

“We understand that many of our brothers and sisters from our neighbouring communities attended the Kuper Island industrial school. We also recognize with a tremendous amount of grief and loss that too many did not return home. it is impossible to get over acts of genocide and human rights violations. Healing is an ongoing process, and sometimes it goes well, and sometimes we lose more people because the burden is too great,” said Penelakut Tribe Chief Joan Brown. 

The Kuper Island Industrial School on Penelakut Island, B.C., is seen in an image from Library and Archives Canada dated 1947.

Thus far no additional details have been provided on how the graves were discovered and whether the children’s remains are suspected of being buried or if ground-penetration radar was used to find the children’s remains. 

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared his thoughts on the matter this afternoon.

“The news that more unmarked graves have been found near the former Kuper Island residential school is horrific and heartbreaking. To members of the Penelakut Tribe, and to all Indigenous peoples, I know these findings deepen your pain and reaffirm a truth you have long known. We cannot bring back those who were taken, but we can – and we will – continue to tell the truth. And we will work in true partnership with you to fight discrimination and systemic racism, and advance healing and reconciliation, with real and concrete actions,” said Truduea. 

Canada’s New Democratic Party Leader, Jagmeet Singh also shared his thoughts and urged the Canadian government to “ensure a special prosecutor is put in place to investigate crimes against Indigenous people”. 

Brown has invited the community to participate in the March for the Children in Cheminus, B.C on August 2ndto mourn and honour the children who were forced to attend the Kuper Island Residential School and to collectively move forward on a path of healing and reconciliation.

Canadians continue to call on the Canadian government and the Roman Catholic Church that ran the operations at the Residential School to take accountability for their actions and to recall and enact on the Calls to Action made by the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada (TRC).

National IRS Crisis Line, 1-866-925-4419

IRSS Telephone Support Line, 1-800-721-0066 

First Nation & Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line, 1-855-242-3310 

Native Youth Crisis Hotline, 1-877-209-1266 

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or text 686868

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