A crowd assembled outside of the Tseshaht First Nation’s administrative office today to recognise 215 souls lost at a residential school elsewhere in the province.
Elders sat in the shade in front of the building by the Somass River as dozens sang in honour of the recent discovery that came from the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. On Friday, May 28 the Tk’emlúps te SecwépemcKukpi7 First Nations reported that the remains of 215 children were uncovered on the grounds, thanks to a “ground penetrating radar specialist.” The Kamloops institution was the largest residential school in Canada, housing as many as 500 students at one time. The institution closed in 1978 after it was converted into a day school by the federal government.
The discovery has triggered heavy emotions among many residential school survivors across Canada, including the several Nuu-chah-nulth-aht who attended the Kamloops school. Now many wonder how many undocumented children were buried at other sites, including the Alberni Indian Residential School, which operated for almost a century on the Tseshaht reserve.