CALGARY – Tsuut’ina chief Roy Whitney says the news of the uncovering of 215 bodies of residential school kids in Kamloops will refresh the pain felt by survivors of residential schools, and their families.
Whitney said the discovery punctuates the injustice of this system and the callousness of treatment of the children in custodial care.
“The tragedy of their anonymous interment during a separation from their families, and the understandable worry that arises as to causes of death, are only slightly mitigated by the knowledge that they are now in peace with the Creator,” he said in a statement.
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He says while it’s difficult to determine what the next steps should be while so many are hurting, it’s imperative the investigation of the Kamloops residential school be thorough, intensive, and driven by a desire to seek full accountability.
He went on to call for accountability from the federal government and the catholic church.
“The Roman Catholic church must open all its records, not just to professionals in history, but to law enforcement if there is any evidence of mistreatment of children or interference with or indignity to a dead body,” he said.
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“The federal government must also open all files to investigators. We cannot forget that while church officials were the custodians of these children, the federal government had a fiduciary duty of care.”
He says he hopes this event will reinforce how inhumane residential schools were.