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HomeNewsNorthern BC First Nation launch surveys on residential school site

Northern BC First Nation launch surveys on residential school site

This story contains content about Residential Schools which can be upsetting. If you are find yourself becoming upset, come back to the story at another time.

The Nadleh Whut’en Indian Band has begun geophysical surveys on the grounds of the former Lejac Indian Residential School.

According to a release, the first phase began in December while further surveys took place in March and will re-start again in the summer.

Nadleh Whut’en logo.

The Lejac facility opened in 1922 and operated for over five decades, closing its doors in 1976.

During this time, just shy of 79-hundred Indigenous children attended the school and residency – these included kids from 74 bands such as Tahltan, Fort Nelson, Fort George and Nazko.

In 1990, the Department of Indian Affairs razed the building to the ground.

Edward Gearld Fitzgearld was charged in 2003 by the RCMP’s Native Indian Residential School Task Force with 10 counts of indecent assault, three counts of gross indecency, two counts of buggery and six counts of common assault against 10 male students between the Lejac and St. Jospeh’s facilities.

In addition, the Nadleh Whut’en is hosting the fifth gathering of First Nations investigating potential grave sites across the province.

“Nadleh Whut’en is honoured to have been chosen to host this gathering,” said Chief Beverly Ketlo. “Our Nation has a long history of trauma associated with the Lejac Indian Residential School – and we carry a heavy burden in stewarding this site since children from over 70 Nations attended the institutions.”

It is being run in conjunction with the Stellat’en First Nation and the BC Assembly of First Nations.

Representatives from communities surveying 18 former residential schools and three former hospitals will share what they have learned in the process of trying to identify unmarked graves

The three-day event runs until Thursday.

If you are an Indian Residential School survivor or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866- 925-4419

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