Loading articles...

More than 160 unmarked graves found at B.C. residential school site: First Nation

Last Updated Jul 13, 2021 at 3:08 pm EDT

People pay respects to the victims of Canada's residential school system amid shoes, teddy bears, orange shirts and other tributes placed on the steps outside the legislature, in Victoria, Thursday, July 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

CHEMAINUS, B.C. — A newsletter circulating online from a First Nation community on Vancouver Island says more than 160 unmarked and undocumented graves have been found at a former residential school site.

The Penelakut Tribe could not be reached for comment, but the newsletter says the graves were found at the former Kuper Island Industrial School site near Chemainus, B.C

There has been a series of recent discoveries using ground-penetrating radar of what are believed to be the remains of hundreds of children in unmarked graves at former residential schools.

Eric Simons, a PhD student in anthropology at the University of British Columbia, has been working with the Penelakut Tribe at the site of the former residential school where children’s remains were believed to have been buried between 1890 and 1975, when the facility was closed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference today that the findings by the Penelakut Tribe deepen the pain of Indigenous people across the country.

He says the government is committed to telling the truth at what happened at residential schools.

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia says records show more than 100 students died at the school between 1889 and 1966.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press