Jun 24, 2021

By Jane Brown

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Canadians are about to find out the “disturbing and horrific” details associated with the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves near a former residential school in southern Saskatchewan.

Leaders of the Cowessess First Nation say many of the remains are believed to be of children and the number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada.

They are planning a virtual news conference Thursday at 9am local time (11am Eastern) at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School, which is about a two hour drive east of Regina.

(A classroom in Marieval Indian Residential School. PHOTO BY SOCIETE HISTORIQUE DE SAINT-BONIFACE, REFERENCE NO. SHSB 1441)

Following an earlier discovery of remains of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, Ontario NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa says 2021 will be a year of the true telling of the real history of Canada.

“The reckoning of what’s been happening to these people, and what continues to happen, and the complacency of the nice words are not acceptable anymore from provincial and federal governments,” Mamakwa explained.

Credit for pursuing this new disturbing finding is being given to Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme for teaming up with an underground radar detection team from Saskatchewan Polytechnic to begin the search for remains just over three weeks ago.

Chief Delorme says these findings are leading to renewed trauma for many in indigenous communities.

“The emotional and mental side of the triggering is going to be an investment needed as well,” Chief Delorme explained, “Ever since the 215 grave site story came out, some of my strongest mentors and leaders in this community have broken down, it’s just triggered.”

There has been early reaction from Saskatchewan’s premier, who says the entire province is mourning for those who were discovered buried in unmarked graves near the site of a former residential school about 160 kilometres east of Regina.

In a post Wednesday night, Scott Moe says he understands many of the remains are those of children, adding, “Sadly, other Saskatchewan First Nations will experience the same shock and despair as the search for graves continues across the province.”

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