Canada mourns 215 children after remains at Indigenous school –

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Canada mourns 215 children after remains at Indigenous school – fr


Montreal (AFP)

Canada flew its flags at half mast on Sunday in mourning for 215 children whose remains were discovered on the grounds of a former residential school set up over a century ago to assimilate Indigenous peoples.

“To honor the 215 children who lost their lives at the former Kamloops residential school and all the Indigenous children who never returned home, the survivors and their families, I requested that the Peace Tower flag be (in Ottawa) and the flags on all buildings be half-masted, ”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter.

Several municipalities, including the economic metropolis of Toronto, have announced that they will also lower their flags.

The discovery of the remains of the children, some of whom were only three years old, stirred strong emotions across Canada, especially in Indigenous communities.

A specialist used ground-penetrating radar to confirm the remains of students who attended school near Kamloops, B.C., the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc tribe said in a statement Thursday evening.

Kamloops Indian Residential School was the largest of 139 residential schools established at the end of the 19th century, with up to 500 students enrolled and attending at any one time.

It was operated by the Catholic Church on behalf of the Canadian government from 1890 to 1969.

# photo1 A total of 150,000 Indian, Inuit and Métis youth were forcibly enrolled in these schools, where students were physically and sexually assaulted by principals and teachers who stripped them of their culture and language.

Today, these experiences are blamed for a high incidence of poverty, alcoholism and domestic violence, as well as high suicide rates, in their communities.

Ottawa formally apologized in 2008 for what the commission later called a “cultural genocide” in a $ 1.9 billion Canadian ($ 1.6 billion) settlement with elders. students.

“I have already said that residential schools were a genocide of our people. Here is just another shining example of this genocide in practice: undocumented child deaths, ”Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Sunday. the CTV news channel.

Bellegarde noted that there was still a lot of work to be done to identify the remains, trace their families and examine the sites of other residential schools.

He said the federal government “has a responsibility to ensure that these resources are in place to get the answers.”

# photo2 Ceremonies in honor of the young victims took place or were to take place across the country. About a hundred people gathered on Sunday in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, near Montreal.

Participants placed children’s shoes and toys on the steps of Saint Francis Xavier Church in tribute to the victims.

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