What Happens Next After the Discovery of Indigenous Children’s Remains

Tags: Currents Canada, Catholic Education, Crux, Media, World News

Currents News Staff

More than 200 pairs of shoes were laid on these Vancouver steps. Their souls were symbolically, now at rest.

Catholic leaders are responding after the remains of 215 children were found buried, for decades, on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian residential school in Canada. The former school was run by the Catholic church and later by the federal government. 

Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver called the news ‘troubling,’ saying in a statement that “the pain that such news causes reminds us of our ongoing need to bring light to every tragic situation that occurred in residential schools run by the church. The passage of time does not erase the suffering that touches the Indigenous communities affected, and we pledge to do whatever we can to heal that suffering.”

The Indigenous community in British Columbia calls it an “unthinkable” discovery. 

“It was devastating,” said Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation’s Chief Rosanne Casimir. “It was actually quite mind-boggling.”

Former student Harvey McLeod says he was subjected to abuse at the school.

“What I realized yesterday, how strong I was as a little boy…how strong I was as a little boy to be here today,” Harvey said. “Because I know that a lot of people didn’t come home.”

According to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Indigenous children were forced to attend the school. They were separated from families and many were neglected and abused. Some even disappeared and their families never knew what became of them.

“What they were told was that, when children were missing, that they were told that they ran away,” said Chief Rosanne.

Native leaders say it’s time the government steps up.

“There is obviously more to do,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The prime minister called the discovery ‘a painful reminder of a dark chapter in the country’s history,’ but he isn’t making any specific promises.

“This government is committed to reconciliation,” he said. “We are committed to the truth.”