From Reuters, the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found at the site of a former residential school for indigenous children, a discovery Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as heartbreaking on Friday.
The children were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978, according to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation, which said the remains were found with the help of a ground penetrating radar specialist.
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir said in a statement that at this time, there are more questions than answers. Canada’s now-defunct residential school system underwent a six-year investigation of child abuse of many of the 150,000 children who attended the schools, with more than 4,100 children dying at the schools. Most of the schools were administered by Christian churches.
In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologized for the system. The school closed in 1978.
Church-run industrial schools have a long history worldwide of child abuse. Ireland’s industrial schools and homes for unmarried mothers were investigated by commission and showed a history of nuns, priests, and Christian Brothers abusing, starving, and sexually molesting children since the 1930s.
[Featured image, Wikimedia Commons, St. Paul’s Industrial School, Manitoba, Canada, 1901]