An Aboriginal leader announced there, other unmarked graves had been found near a former boarding school for Aboriginal children on Pinnicalot Island in western Canada.
After more than one hundred and sixty other cemeteries have been identified, Bob Chamberlain, the leader of British Columbia’s indigenous communities, said Tuesday that all of this is just “the tip of the iceberg.”
Joan Brown, the leader of the Pinicalot tribe, highlighted that many of the tombs remain unexplored to this day.
Canada’s CTV reported that Glenn Dottie, a former boarding school employee who served as a member of the Catholic mission, was sentenced to four years in prison in 1991 for sexually assaulting four Aboriginal children thirty years earlier.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his deep pain over the Benillaco and the treatment of the country’s other Indigenous communities. He said that while the dead cannot be resurrected, the living can tell the truth and continue to struggle with indigenous peoples against discrimination and systemic racism.
From 1890 to 1975, there was a Catholic boarding school in the area formerly known as Cooper Island. Within a few weeks, more than a thousand of these graves were found, ripping apart the wounds caused by violent assimilation.
Not so long ago, 751 unmarked graves were found in Marival, Saskatchewan, and 215 were found at the end of May in Kamloops, British Columbia. The cases caused a massive shock to Canadians.
From 1831 until recently, in 1996, the Catholic Church ran boarding schools in the country. During this time, approximately one hundred and fifty thousand indigenous children were separated from their families. Many of them were reported to have been injured, abused, sexually exploited and severely malnourished. To date, at least 3,200 children have died in church residential institutions, most of them from tuberculosis.
In June, Trudeau asked Pope Francis to travel to Canada and apologize on behalf of the Church. He stressed that the apology is not only important, but must also be made in Canada, directly in front of Canadian citizens. The Pope received the reports painfully, but did not yet follow up on the indigenous population.
After news of unknown graves, several Catholic churches in Canada were set on fire by unknown perpetrators.
Although former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized in 2008 on behalf of his countrymen for the treatment of Aboriginal children, many Aboriginal communities in Canada blame the facilities that define the lives of several generations for current social problems.