A Manitoba First Nation says they have discovered anomalies they believe could be unmarked graves of children who attended a residential school, and the news comes just days after another community said they planned to investigate almost 200 anomalies that have been discovered in that community.
The Minegoziibe Nation, also commonly referred to as the Pine Creek First Nation (PCFN), announced on Wednesday a ground-penetrating radar search conducted by AltoMaxx which began in early May has now revealed six anomalies in the ground in PCFN.
The First Nation community, which sits approximately 110 kilometres north of the city of Dauphin, was formerly the home of the Pine Creek Residential School, which operated for close to 80 years between 1890 and 1969, and was torn down in 1972.
Discoveries of what is believed to be unmarked graves near former residential schools last year in both B.C. and Saskatchewan prompted many First Nations communities in Canada including PCFN to conduct ground searches, and PCFN said their searches have now uncovered the anomalies.
They now plan to continue investigating to see if they can figure out for sure what has happened beneath the ground and if there may be unmarked graves in the community, of children who attended the Pine Creek Residential School.
“Leadership has requested that AltoMaxx return for a more comprehensive search of the area in the hopes of confirming the data in more detail,” they said.
Additional searches in the community are now expected to get underway later this month, according to PCFN.
The announcement of the anomalies in PCFN comes just days after Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Derrick Henderson confirmed that 190 anomalies in the ground in Sagkeeng were recently discovered by searchers, also with Altomaxx, near the sight of the former Fort Alexander Residential School.
Henderson said on Tuesday that Sagkeeng officials are now looking into what their next steps will be to confirm the reasons for those anomalies.
The Winnipeg Sun reached out to PCFN Chief Derek Nepinak on Thursday for further comment, but did not hear back before Thursday’s press deadline.
— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun