This new announcement of gravesites on the grounds of the San Jose Mission, which was a former residential school for indigenous children, adds to the nearly 2000 burials found in Canadian educational centers in the last years.
More than 150,000 children were forcibly separated from their families and communities and forced to attend theses schools since the 1830s until the closure of the last center of this type in 1997.
Such institutions were created by the Canadian federal government and managed by the Catholic churches aiming to eradicate the languages and cultures of native children.
According to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, over 4100 children died in those schools, although according to death records it is likely that the total number of deaths be much higher.
The largest finding occurred in Saskatchewan, in 2021, where 715 unidentified graves were uncovered. The magnitude of this practice suggested that the total number of discoveries will continue to rise.
After the first discoveries, hundreds of indigenous advocates worldwide demanded more actions from the Canadian government to find the truth and justice.
But for the members of the indigenous peoples, it was not actually a revelation. Just the confirmation: they knew that their loved ones were somewhere on the ground, in unmarked graves.
The scandal prompted Canada´s own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to issue a public apology on behalf of the government; Pope Francis also regretted the abuses by the Canadian Catholic church against the indigenous people, a process that destroyed their cultures, separated their families and marginalized generations.
The fact that so many minors suffered arbitrariness and, in many cases, even death, was considered cultural genocide by experts.
*The writer is a journalist at Prensa Latina North America Desk.
(Taken from Orbe weekly)