Shomporko Online News Desk: According to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan, an estimated 751 unmarked graves were discovered at the site of the former Marieval residential school.
The disclosure was made during a virtual press conference hosted by FSIN chief Bobby Cameron and Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme and comes just weeks after 215 unmarked gravesites were discovered at a Kamloops residential school.
Chief Delorme stated that they are unable to confirm whether or not all of the unmarked graves contain children. Adults have also been buried there, according to legend. The Roman Catholic Church was in charge of the cemetery at the residential school.
“We are treating this as a crime scene at the moment, and we’ll know more as we continue our search,” Delorme said.
Delorme added that this is not a mass grave site, instead calling the discoveries unmarked graves.
“In the 1960s, the Catholic Church removed the headstones and today, we have over 600 unmarked graves,” Delorme said.
Between 1899 and 1997, the Marieval Indian Residential School was in operation.
The school was established in 1898 and closed in 1996, according to Delorme.
Delorme claimed that children from several locations in southern Manitoba attended the school, according to oral histories.
Children from south-central Saskatchewan also attended Marieval, but according to Delorme, the majority of the children came from the Treaty 4 area in southern Saskatchewan.
The Cowessess First Nation received condolences from Treaty One Nation in Manitoba.