From Kamloops to Cowessess.
In southern Saskatchewan the Cowessess First Nation announced on June 24 it located 751 unmarked graves in its community cemetery near the former Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997.
This came nearly one month after Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said what are believed to be remains of 215 children were located in an unmarked burial site on former Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds in British Columbia.
Both schools were operated by the Roman Catholic Church.
They were part of a century-long network of 134 residential schools across Canada established and funded by the federal government and run by religious groups as a way to assimilate Indigenous Peoples.
Where the Marieval residential school once stood, now an empty field after it was torn down.
APTN News is sitting down with residential school survivors and sharing their stories.
If you need emotional support, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Hotline can be reached at 1-866-925-4419
It’s a sombre walk through the cemetery for Chasity Delorme and her 19-year-old daughter Jayda, where 751 unmarked graves were found by ground-penetrating radar. Her grandmother Marybelle Tanner attended the former Marieval residential school when she was a child.
The trauma they endured is difficult to comprehend. Like so many residential school students who grew up to start their own families, they never dealt with their own trauma, which trickled down into the next generation.
Long-time friends Debbie Delorme and Miranda Desjarlais have known each other since they were five years old and met while attending the Marieval residential school.
It’s taken years for Delorme to finally talk about her experience.
But now she says it’s time for the truth to come out.
Back during her time at residential school, Carol Lavallee and the others were not referred to as their names but were given numbers — She was number 39.
Now 70 years old, Lavallee says she’s glad the Marieval school was torn down because for her it was an evil place.
Lavallee says the federal government needs to take more responsibility for the damage caused by residential schools.