BC Coroners Service issues statement on burial site found at former residential school

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said the agency is early in the process of gathering information and will continue to work with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation

KTW contacted the BC Coroners Office to ask about its role in the investigation of the discovery of the remains of 215 children on land next to the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation.

KTW asked whether technology available can answer such questions as as age of the remains and causes of death and how the process of finding such answers will be done.

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The BC Coroners Office, through its media relations section, issued the following release from chief coroner Lisa Lapointe.

“We are early in the process of gathering information and will continue to work collaboratively with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc and others as this sensitive work progresses. We recognize the tragic, heartbreaking devastation that the Canadian residential school system has inflicted upon so many, and our thoughts are with all of those who are in mourning today."

On Thursday, May 27, The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed that the remains of 215 children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School have been found on the reserve using ground-penetrating radar.

Chief Rosanne Casimir called the discovery an “unthinkable loss that was spoken about, but never documented by the Kamloops Indian Residential School,” which was the largest school in the country’s Indian Affairs residential school system.

Casimir said Tk’emlúps will continue to work with the ground-penetrating radar specialist to complete the survey of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds, which are at the corner of Highway 5 and Shuswap Road.

Preliminary work in confirming that the remains of the children were on the reserve began in the early 2000s, Casimir said, with the radar technology confirming the stories.

Tk’emlups’ Heritage Park is closed to the public and no one will be permitted on site for the duration of the work. The band is expected to complete preliminary findings by mid- June and will be providing updates as they become available.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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