GRAPHIC WARNING: This article contains details that readers may find disturbing.
An organization investigating unmarked graves near a boarding school in eastern Alberta says it has uncovered “material and documented evidence of genocide”.
The Acimowin Opaspiw Society (AOS) on Tuesday released details of its preliminary report into “missing children and unmarked graves” at the Blue Quills boarding school.
“The inquest’s theory of the missing children from the Saddle Lake site is that they are buried in undocumented mass graves,” the report said.
“One of the undocumented mass graves was located by an accidental dig in 2004 at Sacred Heart Cemetery. The mass graves will require a second excavation and repatriation of the remains followed by identification by the coroner once the ‘DNA taken from living descendants.
The report includes allegations that a “discipline” who worked there from 1935 to 1942 was seen killing children.
“The inquest received disclosures from intergenerational survivors, whose parents witnessed homicides at the Saint Paul site,” the report said.
This staff member is accused of pushing boys down the stairs, killing them.
“[He] then threatened to kill the boy witnesses if they said anything,” he said.
The report indicates that the accused died in 1968.
Leah Redcrow, executive director of the AOS, also believes that many children at the school died after being forced to drink unpasteurized milk contaminated with bovine tuberculosis.
“How I know it’s deliberate is because the administrators of the school weren’t dying, but the children. And the administrators of the school weren’t eating the same food as the children,” Redcrow said. to journalists.
“A big part of what it’s about is getting spiritual justice for our missing family members. I didn’t know myself that my grandfather had 10 siblings killed. in this school.”
Genealogy work is underway to determine how many children have gone missing, she said.
Last May, the group held a press conference to announce that it was “actively seeking and investigating” the deaths of at least 200 residential school children who never returned home.
At the time, a residential school survivor and AOS researcher said he found documents for 215 students who died between the ages of 6 and 11, but whose remains are still missing.
“The number of missing children is enormous…The institution was plagued by violence, disease, starvation, abuse and death,” said Eric Large.
A community councilor also spoke of the discovery of body parts in unmarked graves at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Saddle Lake, and the report said skeletal remains, including those of young children, were found in the region.
If you are a distressed former residential school student, or if you have been impacted by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour residential school crisis line at 1-866 -925-4419, or the Survivors Society’s Indian Residential Schools Toll-Free Line at 1-800-721-0066.
Additional mental health support and resources for Indigenous people are available here.
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