An estimated 751 unmarked graves have been discovered at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Canada’s Saskatchewan province.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron and Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme made the announcement after Cowessess First Nation along with Saskatchewan Polytechnic started using ground-penetrating radar technology on June 2 to locate the unmarked burial sites.
The residential school gravesite was overseen by the Roman Catholic church.
This is the second such announcement in Canada in less than a month, after the remains of 215 children were found buried at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia
Speaking at a virtual news conference Chief Delorme said they cannot confirm all the unmarked graves belong to children, as there are oral stories of adults being buried there as well.
Mr Delorme affirmed “these are unmarked graves we are not talking about a mass grave site.”
Delorme asked listeners to stand by them, as they heal, and get stronger.
“We all must put down our ignorance and accidental racism of not addressing the truth that this country has with Indigenous people,” he said.
“We are not asking for pity, but we are asking for understanding, we need time to heal, and this country must stand by us.”
Delorme said the community wants to put names to the people in the graves in the coming months. He said the community would be treating the site “like a crime scene.”
He said he would like to see a monument built at the site that includes the names of those identified.