The head of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc said that the investigation of the BC boarding school has just begun

Warning: This story contains some details that may be painful for readers.

The head of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said that its members have met with more than a dozen officials in recent days because the community has begun a long and painful investigation that found what is believed to be an unmarked children’s cemetery.Still adjacent to a former boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia

Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir (Rosanne Casimir) said that since the announcement of the preliminary findings, the community has been conducting discussions with federal and provincial ministers, local Catholic bishops, indigenous leaders, and an independent expert from the United Nations within a week. Talk.

“This is just the beginning, there is still a lot of work to be done,” Casimir said at a press conference on Friday. “We are all sad, this is unprecedented, we need to do the right thing, and there is no road map.”

Aboriginal people announced on May 26 that it had used the services of ground-penetrating radar experts to reveal the remains of children believed to have been missing from school for a long time.Casimir told CBC News that based on the oral history shared by the survivors, the community believes Some people are only three years old.

The band’s announcement caused national grief and called for more searches of other such institutions. Casimir said that the community was “deeply affected” and needed time and space to grieve.

Indigenous people from the Pacific First Nations Women’s Association held a ceremony in Vancouver on May 28 to commemorate the children who died at the Kamloops Indian Boarding School. (Ben Nilms/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

“Our country has been working together to deal with the heartbreaking truth revealed… Our people, our families and our communities are at the center of this pain,” she said.

The final report of the radar survey is expected by the end of June

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report on the boarding school system details the severe abuse of indigenous children by government-funded mission schools, where at least 4,100 children have died.

Casimir said the band plans to release the final report of the radar experts at the end of June.

After the news came out, a steady stream of people stopped to pay their respects and left flowers, shoes and plush toys in front of the survivor memorial outside the former Kamloops Indian boarding school. Casimir said the massive support has been “overwhelming.”

She said that the old residential school buildings will remain intact.

“For us, this is a very huge history, we don’t want to be forgotten, but we can learn from it. History, the ugly truth…for all future generations,” she said.

Incomplete record

Casimir said that her community is cooperating with the RCMP to investigate potential unmarked cemeteries, but she also told reporters that she does not want the public to ignore the history of the RCMP.

Casimir said: “We also need to announce that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police forcibly removed children from their families and took them to boarding schools.”

In a statement to CBC, Staff Sgt. Bill Wallace said: “The Tk’emlúps Rural RCMP has attended the scene, participated in the meeting, and will continue to work closely with the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc community leaders to determine the next step and the best way to participate in any investigation. The best way. Forward.”

However, due to lack of records, some early investigations may prove difficult.

According to the Truth and Reconciliation CommissionIn about one-third of the deaths in boarding schools, the government and the school did not record the names of the children. Nearly 50% of people did not record the cause of death.

In addition, Casimir said that the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Roman Catholic Church, which runs Kamloops School, has so far not released any records to the community.

“I met with Bishop Joseph in our local Catholic church…this is only the first meeting since the news broke,” she said.

Casimir said she is also following up on the statement made by the Archbishop of Vancouver that he has shared the record with TRC.

Father Ken Tolson of the Consecration of the Immaculate Missionaries said that in the past week he promised to transfer all congregation records related to boarding schools and make them easier to access digitally.

He said that the missionaries would not publish personnel files, such as the names of the sacrifices, and said it complied with federal privacy laws.

The records held by the missionaries are the Codex Historicus or Daily Record Book, which records what happened between 1890 and 1969 before the federal government took over the boarding school.

Tolson said he hopes to be able to transfer records in the next few days.

In an email, the National Truth and Reconciliation Center confirmed that it had obtained some records from missionaries before the recent developments, and that the missionaries are now transferring their main collection to the Royal BC Museum.

“We hope and look forward to receiving copies,” a spokesperson said.

As for the federal government, which took over the school in 1969, it said it recently pledged $27 million to help communities locate and identify missing persons. However, Casimir stated that the money is not new, but that the government has allocated funds to implement the TRC recommendations, but has not yet used it. The National Truth and Reconciliation Center confirmed that the funding came from 2019.

Casimir said that the cost of the current investigation has yet to be determined.

Anyone affected by the boarding school experience and those affected by the latest report can receive support.

The National Indian Boarding School Crisis Hotline has been established to provide support to former students and others. People can get emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour hotline: 1-866-925-4419.

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