June 19th, 2024

B.C. First Nation to release results of search for unmarked graves at school site

By The Canadian Press on February 21, 2023.

Flags mark where ground-penetrating radar recorded hits of what are believed to be 751 unmarked graves in this cemetery near the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School on the Cowessess First Nation, Sask. on Saturday, June 26, 2021. A British Columbia First Nation is releasing the results of a preliminary search for unmarked graves on the grounds of a former residential school. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. – A British Columbia First Nation is releasing the results of a preliminary search for unmarked graves on the grounds of a former residential school.

The Tseshaht First Nation is presenting its search results in Port Alberni, B.C., after 18 months of planning and operations at the former site of the Alberni Indian Residential School.

Tseshaht Nation officials say children from at least 100 Indigenous communities attended the school when it operated from 1900 to 1973.

B.C. land surveyor GeoScan has been working on the project, using ground-penetrating radar to detect possible grave sites at the Alberni school location.

The company, which has worked at other residential school sites, began scanning at Port Alberni in July 2022.

Tseshaht Elected Chief Councillor Wahmeesh, whose English name is Ken Watts, says it’s essential to embark on what he calls “this journey of truth” despite the process being difficult for survivors.

Officials say health and wellness support staff will be on-site to assist if necessary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published February 21, 2023.

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