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Local reaction to discovery of children's remains at former residential school in British Columbia

'Privilege is not finding children’s bodies buried in your community school grounds'
scott-mcleod-2-orange-shirt-day (2)
In this file photo, NFN Chief Scott McLeod is pictured supporting Orange Shirt Day.

Here are a few local reactions to the discovery of the buried remains of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.  

In a widely-viewed tweet, Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod shared he is having difficulty reconciling the "lack of outrage," in Canada over the discovery of the remains — with some reported to be belonging to children as young as three.

Chief McLeod earlier tweeted, "Privilege is not finding children’s bodies buried in your community school grounds," upon learning of the discovery. 

The grounds have been marked with pegs — hundreds of them — according to a Canadian Press report, each marking what could be a child's remains found by ground-penetrating radar at the former residential school in Kamloops B.C. The facility was in operation between 1890 and 1969 by the Catholic Church when the federal government took over and ran it as a day school until it closed in 1978. With a population of 500 students at times, it was once the largest of the residential schools in Canada. 

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare also shared a message.

In North Bay, Monday, the City of North Bay lowered its flags to half-staff in memory of those lost.

And, the North Bay Police Service did the same in remembrance of the residential school victims.

The Near North District School Board announced Monday its buildings will lower their flags for 215 hours to honour the 215 lives lost in remembrance of all Indigenous children who never made it home and in acknowledgement of residential school survivors and their families. Flags will fly at half-mast from May 31 to June 8. 

Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir, whose First Nation commissioned the use of ground-penetrating radar at the site explained the decision to intensify the search, saying, "Knowing that children have went missing, their relations have went missing and never came home. There was always question about where. There had to be more to the story."

See related: National reaction to the discovery of remains on the site of a former B.C. residential school

See also: MPs pass bill creating national day for truth and reconciliation

And: B.C. teacher says students could be triggered by residential school discovery

There has been a call in many communities to honour and remember residential school victims and survivors.

 With files from the Canadian Press 

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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