An investigation has brought to light the mortal remains of 215 minors in a mass grave of a Canadian school closed in 1978 and erected to facilitate the integration of the indigenous population: The Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, where forensics are already working to determine the exact cause and date of the deaths, reports Canadian public television, CBC. The finding has been announced by the chief of the Indian tribe Tk’emlups te Secwepemc. “As far as we know, those of these lost children are undocumented deaths. Some were only three years old,” said the head of the Kamloops community, Rosanne Casimir, in statements to the British network. BBC. These types of schools were created in the 19th and 20th centuries to forcibly assimilate young Indians and they were financed by the state and run by religious organizations.
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Kamloops’s was the largest in the country, It was opened in 1890 under a Catholic administration, and welcomed some 500 students at its peak, in the 1950s. In 1969 the federal government took over its management and turned it into a student residence and that is how it operated until its closure in 1978. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has recognized these facts as a “painful reminder” of “a shameful chapter in the history of our country.” The Minister of Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, he has criticized these internees, a manifestation of a “shameful” colonial policy, and has promised to “pay homage to these innocent lost souls.”
It is estimated that more than 150,000 indigenous minors were uprooted from their homes and placed in these schools
Between 1863 and 1998 it is estimated that more than 150,000 indigenous minors were uprooted from their homes and placed in these schools where they were not allowed to speak their language or express their culture and where abuse and abuses.
A commission of inquiry concluded in 2015 that many of the minors never returned to their communities and thus recognized a “cultural genocide”. The Lost Children Project has so far identified more than 4,100 minors died during their stay in boarding schools and many of them were buried in the school grounds themselves.