- Saddle Lake Cree Nation is examining potential Blue Quills residential school gravesites.
- Saddle Lake Cree Nation explores possible grave sites near the ex-Blue Quills residential school between 1898 and 1931.
A First Nation in Alberta states new archival work has assisted clarify multiple findings of human remains that it now feels are the unmarked graves of residential school students.
Saddle Lake Cree Nation announced on Tuesday that since 2004, there had been multiple findings of partial remains that were accidentally unearthed while new graves were being dug in the community’s cemetery, which is around the ex-Blue Quills residential school site.
Saddle Lake Cree Nation is approximately 170 kilometers northeast of Edmonton.
While community members who found the remains were at the time uncertain regarding what they saw and reburied them, a unit tasked with studying grave sites connected to the school now thinks it’s been finding the shallow, unmarked graves of children between the ages of four and ten who died at the school.
“There was children-sized skeleton remains that were exhumed. None of these skeleton remains were in coffins,” Saddle Lake council member Jason Whiskeyjack said at a press conference on Tuesday.
probers collect archival, witness proof
The previous year, Saddle Lake Cree started the Acimowin Opaspiw Society to explore likely burial sites.
Lead investigator and residential school survivor Eric Large and his crew started gathering witness statements from community members who had found bodies, talked to people who had missing family members, and reviewed archival records about the school.
Investigators’ extensive stated Catholic Church records show that 212 students perished at the school between 1898 and 1931. He said that the number considerably outstrips federal records, which accounted for approximately 25 student demises.
Source – cbc.ca