Many hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children discovered at Canadian residential schools

Investigators used ground-reading radar to uncover over 200 unmarked graves of children at a former residential school run by a Roman Catholic order under the auspices of the federal government.

Calls being made for further investigations at all former residential school sites:

About when would these children have died? There’s undoubtedly a great tragedy here no matter when they were, but the response should be different if they were centuries ago, vs. last year.

A friend of mine has a daughter adopted from India, and the orphanage she came from was later discovered to have similar mass graves, in recent use. Needless to say, that environment left a mark on her.

The residential school policy ran from the mid 19th century to the mid20th century, although there had been earlier residential schools before that. I think I read that the BC school in question was most active from ~1920 to ~1965, but I’m not sure.

The policy dates back to the first Prime minister, Macdonald, whose reputation has taken a tremendous hit as the implications and consequences of the policy, designed to “de-Indian” the children, have become clear.

The school opened in 1890. From the article: “The same documents mention that students were exposed to outbreaks of measles, tuberculosis, influenza and other contagious diseases, and many died.” This is probably the reason for the deaths.

Much more information here:

It’s a national disgrace.


The last of the schools in that system didn’t close until the 1990’s. There are quite a few living survivors.

Those particular graves may be older. But the overall system is a living scandal, not an ancient one.

Oh, well that makes it all better than. :roll_eyes: (Not aimed at you, PT)

We had an Indian School here in Arizona; in fact the street past it is named just that. There are quite a few attendees still living since it was shut down. A few of them have fond memories – the majority do not.

They should immediately undertake to check every Residential school location for the same. If the government doesn’t do it, volunteers should be enlisted. I won’t be surprised to learn there is the same or more at every location.

There are 140 locations. That could easily amount to tens of thousands of children.

The silence of the Catholic Church is deafening, in my opinion.

Which makes it strange to me that the government is pursuing this with stereotypical Canadian politeness. We’re asking the Catholic Church to apologize. We’re asking them to hand over the records they keep on their pedophile priests. Fuck the asking already! You don’t ask mass murderers to apologize! Let’s pursue these creeps with the same zeal of Israel pursing concentration camp guards. Pursue them to the ends of the earth and if it turns out they are 99 years old and only have seven days to live, they will spend those days being tried for their crimes and they will die in jail - a Canadian jail full of First Nations people who tend to end up there because of the massive trauma to their entire culture.

As for the records, I want to see SWAT teams hauling boxes out of churches. I want to see high-ranking church officials bound in zip ties face down on the floor while forensic teams tear the walls apart looking for evidence. I thought the consequence for raping and murdering children was jail time, not being forced to apologize.

What I think is that a comparable percent of poor children elsewhere in Canada in that time era died. That the deaths are not unique to these BC residential schools. That child mortality used to be a very serious problem in the U.S. and Canada (and still is in the third world). That antibiotics and vaccines provided major solutions to this problem.

There is no evidence at all here about the children being murdered, and rape was not even mentioned.

What happened here is that the children were taken out of their homes to learn English and the white man way of doing things.

Many succumbed to disease- and likely many would have died from the same diseases at home, too. The death toll from childhood diseases was horrible back in those days.

In fact few even think the deaths were due to neglect- but the crowded conditions certainly made things worse . But the horrible thing is the schools themselves. While a “good idea” on paper, and everyone meant well, the kids were torn from their families more or less by force, and taken away from their native traditions and languages. In some cases, abuse of various sorts is suggested, true, but the horror is not the deaths so much, but where and why the deaths occurred, the children dying away from their loving families.

Yes. True. But at least those children got to die with the comfort of their families.

And the over crowding at the schools made things worse in many cases.

Still, yes, this is not as if the children were deliberately killed or anything like that. However, Canada was trying to “kill” their language and culture.

We don’t know whether any of them were deliberately killed; or were killed as the result of physical “discipline” that may not have been intended specifically to kill but had that result.

And no, it was not a good idea on paper. It was a terrible idea both on paper and in practice.

Were those children usually buried in unmarked graves, concealed from their families, and deliberately prevented from having funerals in their own religious traditions?

Taking them from their families and communities, forbidding them to speak their own language, and forcing them to violate their own religions was horrific abuse in itself. And there is more than “suggestion” of additional abuse; there’s testimony of survivors.

Please read what I posted.

Note the quotation marks. At the time, they sincerely thought it was a good idea. They were wrong.

In most cases the deaths were reported to the families and the authorities. No source is indicating there was some sort of mass murder going on here.

Don’t make this worse that what it really was= Pretty damn bad.


I think that would have been clearer if you’d said ‘while some thought it was a good idea on paper’.

Why are they then only now discovering the graveyards?

At the time I don’t think they gave a shit about what happened.

No one knew that the bodies were buried in mass, unmarked graves, instead of being sent home (many were but by no means all) or in normal graveyards with markers.

It is mostly the way in which they were buried that is the big story.

The people who buried them (and/or oversaw those burials) presumably knew. This isn’t quite a nitpick: I don’t believe that those people “meant well”, whatever the time was.

I think it’s a big story also because it’s calling a lot of people’s attention to this – many of whom knew little or nothing about these schools before.

That’s true, the Canadian government is well aware these schools were a mistake and would have liked them forgotten.