182 indigenous children’s bodies have been discovered in a mass grave at a Catholic-run school in Canada that housed children taken from their families.
The latest discovery of graves near Cranbrook, British Columbia, follows reports of similar findings at two other church-run schools, one of more than 600 unmarked graves and another of 215 bodies, Mail Online reported.
The Lower Kootenay Band said in a news release that it began using the technology last year to search the site close to the former St. Eugene’s Mission School, which was operated by the Catholic Church from 1912 until the early 1970s. It said the search found the remains in unmarked graves, some about 3 feet deep.
Pope Francis has invited survivors of the residential schools to meet with him at the Vatican in December.
After graves were found last month, Francis expressed his pain and pressed religious and political authorities to shed light on ‘this sad affair.’ But he didn’t offer the apology sought by First Nations and the Canadian government.
The native group which made the latest discovery, Lower Kootenay Band, said on Wednesday that the atrocity was akin to the Nazis systematic killing of Jews.
Chief Jason Louie of the Lower Kootenay Band called the discovery ‘deeply personal’ since he had relatives attend the school.
‘Let’s call this for what it is,’ Louie told CBC radio in an interview. ‘It’s a mass murder of Indigenous people.’
‘The Nazis were held accountable for their war crimes. I see no difference in locating the priests and nuns and the brothers who are responsible for this mass murder to be held accountable for their part in this attempt of genocide of an Indigenous people.’
Prior to news of the most recent finding, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has asked that the national flag on the Peace Tower remain at half-mast for Canada Day on Thursday to honor the Indigenous children who died in residential schools.
Louie said he wants more concrete action than apologies.
‘I’m really done with the government and churches saying they are sorry,’ he said. ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’
On Wednesday, Alberta’s premier condemned what he called ‘arson attacks at Christian churches’ after a historic parish was destroyed in a fire.
‘Today in Morinville, l’eglise de Saint-Jean-Baptiste was destroyed in what appears to have been a criminal act of arson,’ Kenney said in a statement.