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Officials at a First Nation in Saskatchewan say they’ve located more than 2,000 anomalies after using radar at the site of a former Indian residential school.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports, they have not yet been confirmed as human remains.
The ground search of the former Qu’appelle Indian Residential School began about a year and a half ago with the help of ground penetrating radar.
So far, searchers have found a jaw bone fragment believed to be from a child of five or six years of age.
The bones were dated about 1898.
Ground search project leader Sheldon Poitras says this is physical proof of an unmarked grave.
“This discovery here at the site just validates what we have always known. It validates to the world that those stories have some merit.”
In addition to the more than 2,000 anomalies, searchers found underground rooms or tunnels.
He says the data and the stories from survivors of the former residential school is motivation to continue searching.
Poitras says there’s been talk about some drilling to bring up samples and test for DNA.
The chief of the Starblanket Cree Nation, Michael Starr, says the discoveries so far are significant.
“It’s changed the things that we’re going to do. It’s changed our mindset. It’s changed our way of life.”
Some surrounding private landowners have agreed to allow searches on their property, that’s near the former school site. Poitras says the site of the former school is located in the village of Lebret, about 50 miles northeast of Regina.
The school was opened in 1884.
In 1951, it became one of the first residential schools to offer a high school program.
The report from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission said the school had a high death rate.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau said he was saddened and disturbed by the finding of a child’s remains along with potential unmarked graves.
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