Mohawks investigate whether bone fragment dug up near residential school is from child

Mohawks from the Six Nations territory in Ontario are digging up the dirt on what they believe is a dirty residential school secret.

By Donna Smith
APTN National News

TORONTO–Mohawks from the Six Nations territory in Ontario are digging up the dirt on what they believe is a dirty residential school secret.

They are hoping to prove something that has for decades been merely whispered.

Surveying the land that surrounds a former residential school that once housed children from Six Nations, Bill Squire says it’s believed that a bone fragment from a child has been found.

“We’ve been involved on the grounds for the missing children we believe that are buried here,” said Squire.

Carved on the wall of the school are the names of residential school survivors that came here.

The former Mohawk Institute Residential School was set up to receive the children from the Six Nations territory. The Anglican Church run school was opened in the early 1800s and closed in 1970.

Mohawks of the Grand River in Ontario are on a mission to try and prove what has been suspected for decades. Many believe that some children who attended this school were allegedly murdered by those who were paid to take care of them.

Some also believe that the ground around the school is littered with unmarked graves.

The Mohawks have been scoping the grounds around the school with a sonar machine.

“First of all we used a GPR system, actually a radar, to find bones underneath the ground,” said Squire. “We did that, we got some research data back on that. We also worked with a dowser who claims they can locate bones, and also a psychic. That prompted us to start a couple of test holes.”

So the digging began and they uncovered bones.

“The first test hole that we did was only two feet deep and we already ran into bones,” he said. “What kind of bones they are is a mystery to us. We are waiting for analysis on that.”

One bone, that is believed to be that of a young child, has been sent to the University of British Columbia for analysis. The results are expected within weeks.

The residential school holds many secrets, say the people here. The grounds are now marked with pegs where more bones are believed to have been detected.

The Mohawks of the Grand River are now calling on all First Nations people to do their own investigating of former residential schools in their area.

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Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.