A First Nation in British Columbia says it has found nearly 160 child deaths at four facilities in the province.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports, most of the deaths occurred at a hospital.
The probe by the Stó:lō Nation in British Columbia focused on unmarked graves and missing children, going back to the 1860’s.
But representatives of the First Nation and its research and resource management center say the work is only beginning.
So far, obstacles have been the lack of access to information from Ottawa as well as religious institutions that were linked to residential schools.
The research, using ground penetrating radar, archives, and field work, was into three residential schools, cemeteries, and a First Nation hospital.
Most of the children died of diseases such as tuberculosis. Some from accidents.
Amber Kostuchenko is a researcher and the project manager.
“One child died because they were jumped on by another student. Another child was reported to have hit their head against the bed under unknown circumstances. And another was reported to have broken their spine while jumping rope.”
The institutions included the St. Mary’s Indian Residential School, the Coqualeetza Industrial Institute, and the Coqualeetza Hospital – all three in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. And the fourth was the All Hallows School in Yale, BC.
Kostuchencko says her team is still gathering information and has only accessed about half of the 70,000 documents they need.
One of the lead researchers also says interviews with survivors suggested many atrocities committed against children, including sexual assaults, starvation, and secret burials.
Some survivors allege that the St Mary’s school was a place of punishment and starvation – and later when it moved to a second location, a place of pedophilia.