Indigenous Groups in Canada Call for Nationwide Search After Recent Discovery of Mass Grave at Kamloops Indian Residential School

Indigenous groups in Canada have urged for a nationwide search for mass graves after the recent discovery of the remains of over 200 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Sol Mamakwa, Provincial Parliament Member for Kiiwetinoong and a member of the Kingfisher First Nation, called for the government to work with indigenous groups to “look for our lost children.”

“It is a great open secret that our children lie on the properties of the former schools — an open secret that Canadians can no longer look away from,” Mamakwa said in a statement.

“Every school site must be searched for the graves of our ancestors,” Mamakwa further stated.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said in a statement that families of the 215 children whose bodies were discovered last week “deserve to know the truth and the opportunity to heal.”

“A thorough investigation into all former residential school sites could lead to more truths of the genocide against our people,”  Bellegarde said, as quoted by Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail.

Indigenous communities across the country are currently working on how to best investigate unidentified mass graves, according to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.

“We call upon Canada, and all of those who call yourselves Canadians, to witness and recognize the truth of our collective history. This is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous peoples by the colonial state,” Phillip said last week.

Chief Rosanne Casimir of the the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people confirmed last May 27 that they discovered the remains buried on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School with the help of a ground penetrating radar specialist, calling the discovery “an unthinkable loss.”

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