93 children’s graves, 14 of which may have been infants, found at former Canadian church school

English River First Nation Indigenous District Chief Jenny Wolverine told the media yesterday that radar scanning the site at the Beauval Native American Residential School, built in 1860, has identified 93 graves thought to belong to children, 14 of which may belong to infants.

Wolverine said they were worried about finding more graves and that “the burial sites they reached were heartbreaking and devastating.” said.

“We weren’t sure what we would find,” Wolverine said of the searches, which were based on stories told in public. “But we knew the stories shared for generations about the treatment of students who never returned home.” used the phrases.

Wolverine noted that although the school was closed, its effects still continue with the loss of culture, language and life.

Pointing out that 16 communities were affected by this, Wolverine urged the state of Saskatchewan to support these efforts, as the discoveries are the first step of a “long and difficult” journey and they need resources in this process.

Need for a “holistic approach” to Indigenous communities

Wolverine stated that there is a need for a “holistic approach” to indigenous communities and pointed out that governments can support the physical and psychological recovery process.

Calling on Canada and Saskatchewan to hear their voices and acknowledge the fallacy in their approach to indigenous communities to ensure that history never repeats itself, Wolverine urged governments to “accept cultural genocide, dehumanization of First Nations, and ancient cultures of the past.”

Wolverine urged the political will to put these calls into practice, “We heard you’re sorry. Now we need to take action on this, and that means continuing to reunite the children we lost in boarding schools.” he said.

Grave detection work started in 2021

The English River First Nation Indigenous District began its burial search in August 2021.

According to the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, 19 children and a teacher at the school were killed in a fire in 1927.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission published stories of survivors of the incident, including children who were hit on the hands with a hockey stick at school. One of the survivors, Mervin Mirasty, told the Commission that both he and his brother had been sexually abused.

In 2016, a former administrator at the school was convicted of child abuse from 1959 to 1967, CTV News reports.

On the other hand, on June 30, it was announced that 88 children’s graves were found at a boarding school in the Sucker Creek First Nation Indigenous District.

The boarding schools of the churches functioned as centers of assimilation

The boarding church schools, the first of which were opened by the Catholic Church in 1840 on behalf of the Canadian government, and the last one was closed in 1997, went down in history as places where more than 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families.

It was claimed that the majority of indigenous children, who were forcibly removed from their families and cultures to “integrate” into communities dominated by the white majority, were subjected to ill-treatment, starvation and cold, as well as sexual and physical abuse, and even medical experiments were carried out on some children.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in Canada in 2008 to reveal all aspects of the tragedy in boarding church schools.

The Commission, which listened to more than 6,000 survivors, completed its work in 2015 and published a 4,000-page report, describing the events as “cultural genocide”.

While the number of children who died while staying in church schools is given as 4,200 in some sources, it was noted in the Commission’s report that this number was 5,995 since the deaths were not documented by the church administrations.

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