Tk'emlups te Secwepemc mourns unmarked graves in Saskatchewan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tk'emlups te Secwepemc mourns unmarked graves in Saskatchewan

FILE PHOTO - A memorial at the Kamloops Indian Residential school is seen in this June 8, 2021 file photo. Tk'emlups Chief and Council responded to the findings of unmarked graves at a Saskatchewan First Nation Community.

Tk'emlups te Secwepemc is mourning the confirmation of the unmarked graves in Cowessess First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.

In a media release, Tk'emlups Chief and Council acknowledged the "horrific truth" that the First Nation community are grappling.

"We stand with Cowessess First Nation in mourning as well as in deep gratitude for the survivors and intergenerational survivors who held fast to the truth of the unmarked graves," the statement reads.

An unmarked burial site of 751 children was found on the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School, a result of ground penetrating radar work commissioned by the Cowessess First Nation.

READ MORE: First Nation says 751 unmarked graves found at Saskatchewan residential school site

The technology used is similar to that of the work being done at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, where the graves of 215 children were found.

"We regret that we know well what Cowessess First Nation is going through, given the preliminary findings we shared with the world," the Tk'emlups media release reads. "It has been a heavy burden but one we carry with love, honour and respect for the Kamloops Indian Residential School children — whom we refer to as Le Estcwéý (The Missing) that are in our caretakership."

Many of the Indian residential schools were largely run by the Catholic Church, and Tk'emlups Chief and Council have called upon the Pope for an apology. But they also acknowledge that an apology is just one stage of the "healing journey."

READ MORE: Order of Catholic nuns agrees to enhance access to Kamloops residential school records

As the nation grapples with another unmarked burial site finding, more than triple the graves found so far in Tk'emlups, the Chief and Council are still working to finalize their preliminary report of the findings at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

"We will be making some significant announcements regarding Kamloops Indian Residential School Le Estcwéý in the near future," the release reads. "As with Cowessess First Nation, for Tk'emlups te Secwepemc, this is only phase one. More investigation is needed."

— With files from the Canadian Press.

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