History and Historiography

A burial site for Indigenous children was found in Canada. Could it happen in the United States?

By Kevin Clark, America: The Jesuit Review

After years of grueling testimony about the treatment of First Nations and other Indigenous children in residential boarding schools during the 19th and early 20th centuries, Canadians could be forgiven if they believed they had already heard the worst. But on May 27, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced that a land survey using ground-penetrating radar at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia discovered the remains of 215 children—and more are expected to be found after another survey this month.

The school at Kamloops had been part of a national network of 130 residential schools that between 1883 and 1996 housed as many as 150,000 Indigenous children taken away from their families. The residential system was intended to suppress Indigenous culture and force Indigenous assimilation into Canadian society, and it frequently did so in an exceptionally brutal manner.


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