First Nation community in B.C. says 182 unmarked graves found near former residential school

Indigenous community says ground-penetrating radar was used

The remains of 182 people were found in unmarked graves close to the former St. Eugene’s Mission School near Cranbrook, British Columbia, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Lower Kootenay Band.

The statement says the Aq’am community conducted the search in 2020 using ground-penetrating radar. It also says the residential school operated from 1912 to the 1970s. The school was operated by the Catholic Church. The building has since been converted into a resort and casino, with a neighbouring golf course.

According to the statement, about 100 band members attended that residential school.

The details come just a month after the remains of 215 children were found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

Last week, the Cowessess First Nation said it had discovered 751 unmarked graves near a residential school in Saskatchewan. The school operated from 1899 to 1997.

“We have 139 sites across Canada where the residential schools were. And each and every one of those sites needs to be investigated properly,” said Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, on Wednesday afternoon. “This is a validation of what the survivors have been saying, that there are unmarked graves and that there has been death in these institutions.”

Bellegarde announced Thursday a delegation from Canada will visit the Vatican in December. It will include representatives of the Assembly of First Nations and will urge the Pope to come to Canada and issue a public apology.