WARNING: This story contains distressing content
The City of Saskatoon’s flags will be lowered to half-mast at 9 a.m. on Thursday June 24, 2021 to honour all the children found in unmarked graves at the Marieval Indian Residential School on Cowessess First Nation. The Cowessess First Nation is located about 424 km southeast of Saskatoon.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations has not publicly shared the number of graves they found. They're expected to hold a news conference Thursday (June 24) morning with more details however in a media release the FSIN says "the number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada." About a month ago, approximately 215 unmarked burials were discovered on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC.
The Marieval Residential school was in operation from 1899 to 1997 and was operated by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1981, the Cowessess First Nation took over school operations. The buildings were demolished in 1999.
In a post on Facebook, Mayor Charlie Clark says it is time for action. "As we digest this devastating news, we must move to action and commit to right the wrongs of our country and work together towards Truth and Reconciliation."
Those in need of support can call the Indian Residential School Survivors Society at 1 (800) 721-0066, toll free, or the 24hr Crisis Line at 1 (866) 925-4419.
SOURCES: FACEBOOK/FSIN, FACEBOOK/MAYOR CHARLIE CLARK, FSIN
PHOTO SOURCE: LIBRARIES AND ARCHIVES CANADA