Canada indigenous mass graves search ‘must widen’

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The discovery of a mass grave for 215 children in Canada last week — at a former school for indigenous children — is prompting calls for a nationwide search at other similar institutions for more burials.

Indigenous groups in Canada are leading the calls, in an episode that has shocked the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a search would be, quote, “an important part of discovering the truth” but did not make specific commitments.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said the indigenous communities are working to figure out how to investigate.

The discovery was first announced by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, prompting some people to lay hundreds of tiny shoes and flowers in public squares and in front of the Kamloops Indian Residential School — where some as young as three years old were buried.

Between 1831 and 1996, Canada’s residential school system forcibly separated children from their families.

Children were subject to abuse, malnutrition and rape.

A commission tasked with investigating the system called it “cultural genocide” in 2015.

The fourth volume of the commission’s report identified 3,200 children who died at residential schools, about a third of whom were not named.

900 more children have been identified since the report’s publication 6 years ago.

Video Transcript

The discovery of a mass grave for 215 children in Canada last week at a former school for indigenous children is prompting calls for a nationwide search at other similar institutions for more burials.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Indigenous groups in Canada are leading the calls in an episode that has shocked the country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a search would be, quote, “An important part of discovering the truth,” but did not make specific commitments. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said the indigenous communities are working to figure out how to investigate.

The discovery was first announced by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, prompting some people to lay hundreds of tiny shoes and flowers in public squares and in front of the Kamloops Indian Residential School where some as young as three years old were buried. Between 1831 and 1996, Canada’s residential school system forcibly separated children from their families. Children were subject to abuse, malnutrition, and rape. A commission tasked with investigating the system called it cultural genocide in 2015. The fourth volume of the commission’s report identified 3,200 children who died at residential schools, about a third of whom were not named. 900 more children have been identified since the report’s publication six years ago.

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