For survivors, the community memorialized 751 unmarked graves in Sask.Boarding school with night watch
Warning: This story contains distressing details.
Last night, in the entire cemetery of Cowessess First Nation in southeastern Saskatchewan, 751 lanterns covered the entire cemetery. A large group of people, many dressed in orange, gathered together to commemorate the 751 in the community. The remains in an unmarked grave.
An elder in the community spoke during a vigil on Saturday that the discovery of the remains is equivalent to the “slowly healing” scab being ripped off.
The elder explained to the people present in a pragmatic tone that the recovery journey of the people affected by this discovery is underway, and it is far from over.
The band leader said that these unmarked graves contained the remains of children, teenagers, band members, and others from outside the community. Many graves are believed to be indigenous children who were taken from their families to Marieval Indian Boarding School. assimilation.
Under the coordination of the Cowessess Youth Committee and the staff of the Chief Red Bear Children’s Hut, these lights were placed on the cemetery, and a light was placed on each of the hundreds of flags that used radar technology to locate human remains.
Find Provoked the anger and sadness of many people in Canada and around the world Just a few weeks ago, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation stated that ground penetrating radar showed that the remains of 215 children were in the former Kamloops Indian boarding school in British Columbia.
Prayer is answered
In the party held under the blue grassland sky, the sound of drums and traditional songs can be heard. Rooted in rituals and traditions, the event started with smears and prayers. The attendees observed a moment of silence at 7:51 PM CST. After a moment of silence, community members and band leaders talked with the attendees.
While praying in Cree and English during the vigil, Kookum, who provided prayers, said that many people in the community had prayed for years and asked for the tombs to be found, and these prayers have now been answered.
Cowessess First Nation is located about two hours east of Regina. It covers an area of ??more than 21,000 hectares and consists of 3,266 band members, of which 597 live in the reserve. Efforts to identify the cemetery were announced earlier this summer, which is what the community is doing with the help of the Saskatchewan Institute of Technology and the federal government.
Chief Cadmus Delorm, who has been advocating for the community since the discovery, said before the investigation that although there were some marks on the scene, they only accounted for one-third of the suspected graves.
There are more unmarked graves in other forced assimilation sites in the province.
After the remains were found in Kamloops, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Peoples and Saskatchewan Governor Scott Moe Appeal to the federal government Searching all websites in Saskatchewan, Bobby Cameron, the head of FSIN, called what happened at the Canadian boarding school as a “crime against humanity.”
“In our treaty territory, thousands of families have been waiting for their children to return home. Saskatchewan has the most boarding schools and the most survivors,” Cameron said, noting them Want all locations in Saskatchewan—schools, nursing homes, and other such locations—to search and identify victims.
In the effort to find tombs on Cowessess First Nation, the technical team searched about 44,000 square meters and recorded a total of 751 clicks, but each click may find more than one set of remains, the total number is expected to be verified in the next few weeks .
This is heartwarming to me because they have been unknown, but now they are recognized.-County.Jonathan Z. Leilat
Lawyer Jonathan Z. Lerat of Cowessess First Nation said that the night vigil is important for community members because they are working hard to heal, but it is also important for people in the surrounding community, because not only Cowessess First Nation members are buried on the site.
He believes that the findings on Cowessess will help other parts of the world understand the extent of the suffering caused by schools, and he acknowledged that these schools are important.
“This is heartwarming to me because they have been unknown, but now they are recognized,” he said.
Provide support from the entire Sask.
Members of the indigenous community in Regina also went to Cowessess to show their support. Star Andreas is an activist in Regina. She is a member of the Peepeekisis First Nations. She claims to be a female fighter of the 4th Treaty. Before leaving, she said that it was only a matter of time before she left to find more mass graves.
“They will find more babies. They haven’t even searched for other babies, but they will.”
Andreas, through her radicalism, Played an important role in the recent removal of the statue of Father Hugonard, Who founded the Labrat Indian Industrial Residential School, set up a camp at the statue site and called for a search of the province’s ruins.
She said that today, those colonial systems that oppress and assimilate her family still exist in other forms.
“Boarding school, foster care now,” she said. “The same thing is happening and it will stop.”
Many indigenous leaders, including Cowessess First Nation chief Cadmus Delorme, are now calling on Pope Francis to apologize for boarding schools, most of which are run by the Catholic Church. On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that he has now contacted the Pope and “emphasizes to him that he not only apologizes to Canadians in Canada, but also how important it is to apologize to Canadians in Canada.”
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister also had a conversation with Chief Dlom and apologized to the community for the government policy that caused so much harm to the community.
“To the members of the Cowessess community and the 4th Treaty community, we are sorry,” Trudeau said.
He said the federal government is providing community support and partnerships, not only for those who are grieving for the discovery of these graves, but also for the work we have to do to help them heal and create opportunities to move forward, including in children and families. Service issues.”
A survivor who spoke at the event said that he felt “very lucky to be alive” because many people who went to school did not survive. Many people in attendance said that the discovery of the tomb showed people in other parts of the world and outside the indigenous communities the truth they had known for decades.
However, although this event was a serious event, many people in attendance spoke of the pride and resilience of the indigenous communities, who again and again despised those who tried to assimilate them and deprive them of their culture and language.
Anyone affected by the boarding school experience and triggered by these reports can receive support.
A nationwide Indian boarding school crisis hotline has been set up to provide support to boarding school survivors and other affected people. People can call the 24-hour national crisis hotline: 1-866-925-4419 for emotional and crisis referral services.