182 unmarked graves discovered near residential school in B.C.’s Interior, First Nation says

This is at least the third find of this type in the past few weeks.

By Alex Migdal CBC

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

A First Nation in B.C.’s South Interior says 182 unmarked grave sites have been discovered near the location of a former residential school.

The community of ʔaq’am, one of four bands in the Ktunaxa Nation and located near the city of Cranbrook, B.C., used ground-penetrating radar to search a site close to the former St. Eugene’s Mission School, the Lower Kootenay Band announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the ʔaq’am band said it began searching the area for burial sites after finding an unknown, unmarked grave during remedial work around the ʔaq̓am cemetery last year. The cemetery is adjacent to the former school.

Preliminary results from that investigation found 182 burial sites. The statement said the graves were shallow — about a metre deep — and within the cemetery grounds.

The community said work has begun to identify whether the graves are those of children who were forced to attend St. Eugene’s.

“ʔaq’am leadership would like to stress that although these findings are tragic, they are still undergoing analysis and the history of this area is a complex one,” the statement read.


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