Weeks after the remains of 215 children were found at a residential school site in British Columbia another 751 have been found at the Marieval residential school in Saskatchewan.
Assembly of First Nations-Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras gave the following statement this morning:
“It is with deep sorrow and pain in our hearts we awake this morning to find another 751 of our lost children. This is the start of what will be a very painful year as we continue to explore and find more of our lost children. The only relief is that they are finally making their way home.
“As I stated last week, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimated that approximately 3,200 children died. We have long known this number to be short. With two school grounds explored out of the 139 official schools, we have found close to 1,000. This number excludes schools that operated without federal support, those run solely by religious groups or provincial governments.
“The math isn’t hard. If we continue to find our children in these numbers, we will see 70,000, over 20 times more than the TRC naively assumed. This number does not count survivors. This number does not count those children whose remains are now entirely gone from this earth, for whom the Country and the Church have diligently tried to erase their memory.
“Genocide. We will not forget. Truly, this is a year of mourning. I ask that on Canada Day we wear orange in solidarity with our children. Let us mourn together. And if Canada wants to reconcile, and begin including all Canadians, including the first Canadians to join in celebration in the future of this country, I have a request. I ask the federal government this Canada Day to say the word they have avoided for years. Genocide. Admit that what you were doing was trying to destroy our Nations. By acknowledging these truths of the past we can move forward together.”