Flags across Canada are being lowered to half-mast, to honour the memory of 215 children, whose bodies have been discovered at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops.
The remains were discovered by experts using ground-penetrating radar and it’s believed the deaths are undocumented.
The school was run by the Catholic church between 1890 and 1969 and had students from across B-C.
“The finding of these graves refreshes the grief and loss for all First Nations in British Columbia as we remember the fear, horror and desperation experienced by families and communities as their children were forcibly taken away to residential schools. It was a dreadful time of forced assimilation and genocide inflicted by the colonial Canadian state for over a hundred years,” stated BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee in a news release.
“Finding these gravesites is urgent work as many families continue to mourn the loss of their missing children and seek information about their fates.
The Truth and Reconciliation Report, issued more than five years ago, detailed the harsh treatment of indigenous children in residential schools.
It documented the deaths of at least 32-hundred children at the facilities.
Several First Nations leaders are now calling on governments to help search other former residential school sites, to see if more bodies might be found.
On Saturday in Prince George, dozens of people came out to Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park to mourn the tragic discovery and remember the many lives that were taken.
In addition, the B-C Teachers Federation is asking its members to wear orange shirts to class this week, to honour the memory of the children buried in the mass grave.
The federation also plans a walk-in across the province today (Monday).
Teachers will gather outside their schools, then walk in together, to show their support.