751. This is the number of anonymous graves that have been found near the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, initiating a wave of shock and sorrow across Canada and the rest of the world. According to archives, the nuns of the Quebecois catholic church operated this exact residential school until 1979.
It has only been a month since the deaths of 215 innocent lives were found at the previous Kamloops residential school. On Wednesday evening, the discovery of more than 300 graves had already been announced. However, by Thursday, more than double had been confirmed. According to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations of Saskatchewan (FSIN), this number, 751, "would be the largest to date in Canada." The eyes of the world turned to the Chief of Cowessess First Nation on Thursday, including those of several European media outlets.
“The Catholic residential school has had a huge impact on us.Today we have generations who may not have been to residential school. They are, however, feeling the first and second generation of that impact, ” said Cowessess First Nation Chief, Cadmus Delorme.
However, as of this moment, we do not know how or how much the Marieval boarding school was involved in this tragic incident. On the other hand, one thing is certain: their "final departure" took place in June 1979, precisely when the premises of the school were closed.
On the empty lot near the former Indian residential school, 751 colourful flags have been planted on the ground, where the unidentified graves are located. Chief Delorme wants a memorial to be placed in the cemetery, in memory of those who perished in residential schools.
At this time, however, it is impossible to determine whether the remains are precisely only the remains of children that have been discovered, said Delorme. Currently, the site is closed to the public. “Removing a gravestone is a crime in this country, and we are treating it as a crime scene right now,” Cadmus Delorme said.
As for the chief of FSIN, Bobby Cameron, this discovery provides proof that genocide has taken place against indigenous peoples. “We had concentration camps here in Canada, in Saskatchewan. We called them residential schools, ”he said.
“What we're doing now is we're going to put names on the anonymous graves. We want to honour our loved ones, ”explained the Chief of the Cowessess First Nation. The site of the former residential school, located 165 kilometres east of Regina, is on the territory of the Cowesses First Nation.