Graffiti on Saskatoon Catholic cathedral after unmarked graves found

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SASKATOON — The front of a Saskatoon cathedral was tagged with graffiti Thursday following the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at a former residential school site in Saskatchewan.

Red handprints and the words "we were children" were painted on the doors of the St. Paul Co-Cathedral in the city's downtown.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon says he was notified a demonstration took place outside the cathedral on Thursday afternoon.

"A lot of this news is catching people fresh and it's really hard for them, admittedly so," he said Friday.

Hagemoen added that he understands anger levels are high right now but hopes this doesn't result in escalated violence or destruction.

Police say they spoke with church leaders and demonstrators.

They believe two people were involved.

The graffiti has been cleaned up and no charges have been laid.

The Cowessess First Nation east of Regina announced Thursday that ground-penetrating radar had detected 751 potential graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School.

A Catholic religious order called The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate operated Marieval and the Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C., where unmarked graves have also been found.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version referred to the religious order that operated numerous residential schools as the Missionary of Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The order's name is, in fact, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

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