'Hundreds of unmarked graves' found at former residential school in Saskatchewan

'Hundreds of unmarked graves' found at former residential school in Saskatchewan

He said First Nations children in northern Manitoba were often forcibly removed from their homes to go to residential schools, adding that many of them were never able to return to their families.

First Nations have called for the Sisters of St. Ann to release any and all records it retains after the discovery last month of the potential unmarked graves of up to 215 children, some as young as three, on the grounds of the former residential school. "It is of the utmost importance to us to contribute, in any way possible, to transparency and accessibility, and participate in activities that can lead to healing and reconciliation".

Premier Jason Kenney says the horror of the residential school system remains hard to comprehend.

CTV News has reached out the Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc for a response.

The First Nation and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations say the community and school site about 160 kilometres east of Regina are closed.

The museum responded with a statement in support of the council, but said the order had its own locked and self-contained office space and managed the records independently of the museum.

In 2018 and 2019, the First Nation worked with the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Alberta to use ground-penetrating radar to find unmarked or unidentified graves of children who attended the school.

Perry Bellegarde, the chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said in a tweet late Wednesday that the finding at Cowessess is "absolutely tragic, but not surprising".

The agreement does not outline what the records may hold, but Teegee said it's important that whatever exists be released quickly and without bureaucratic barriers to access for communities seeking answers.

"All archives from organizations that were involved with residential schools can play a role in the process of truth-finding and reconciliation", said Daniel Muzyka, acting CEO of the museum, in a statement Wednesday.

The MOU is scheduled to take effect July 1.

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