First Nation still investigating former residential school site in British Columbia

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CHEMAINUS, B.C. — A First Nation community on Vancouver Island says it is continuing its investigations after a newsletter circulating online said it had found more than 160 unmarked and undocumented graves at a former residential school site.

In a statement, the Penelakut Tribe says the newsletter wasn't an "official" news release but was intended to inform neighbouring First Nations of the work in the community.

The statement says the nation has been working since 2014 to investigate a documented list of "missing/murdered children" from the school including using ground-penetrating radar through a program with the University of British Columbia.

It says the nation is continuing to investigate and will update the public "when appropriate."

The newsletter that was online earlier this week said the graves were found at the former Kuper Island Industrial School site near Chemainus, B.C

There has been a series of recent discoveries using ground-penetrating radar of what are believed to be the remains of hundreds of children in unmarked graves at former residential schools in different parts of the country

Eric Simons, a PhD student in anthropology at the university, has been working with the Penelakut Tribe at the site of the former residential school where children's remains were believed to have been buried between 1890 and 1975, when the facility was closed.

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia says records show more than 100 students died at the school between 1889 and 1966.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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