An organization representing Saskatchewan's First Nations is praying for the families and community members of Residential School Survivors ahead of sharing distressing news Thursday morning.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is making an announcement Thursday regarding the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School, located on Cowessess First Nation, 140 kilometres east of Regina.
“The number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada.' That would suggest it exceeds the 215 remains found at former residential school near Kamloops, which prompted grieving," FSIN says on Twitter.
“The number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada.” That would suggest it exceeds the 215 remains found at former residential school near Kamloops,which prompted grieving. #MarievalResidentialSchool https://t.co/eBqzSl1YXy— FSIN (@fsinations) June 23, 2021
In an interview with Regina Leader-Post, Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme told them more than 300 bodies were found with the help of an underground radar detection team, but would not give an exact number.
"Our prayers for the Cowessess First Nation, all Marieval Residential School Survivors, families and community members," FSIN says on Facebook.
FSIN represents Saskatchewan's 74 First Nations and will be hosting the conference, announcing the findings with Cowessess First Nation. On Wednesday evening they held an online meeting to discuss the Gravestone Restoration Project, sharing more details with them.
Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nation writes on Twitter "the news that hundreds of unmarked graves have been found in Cowessess First Nation is absolutely tragic, but not surprising. I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely difficult and emotional time."
Saskatchewan's Premier, Scott Moe, said other First Nations in the province "will experience the same shock and despair" as they continue to uncover graves at residential schools. The Government of Saskatchewan says 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families and brought to the province's 20 residential schools from the 1880s to the 1990s.
My statement on the discovery of unmarked graves near the former Marieval Indian Residential School site. pic.twitter.com/8Dyb9C7Efy— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) June 24, 2021
"Today, all of Saskatchewan mourns for those who were discovered buried in unmarked graves near the former Marieval Indian Residential School site. I understand many were children, and it is heartbreaking to think that so many children lost their lives after being separated from their families, and away from the love and solace only a family can provide," Moe says in a statement.
Moe has previously pledged $2 million to FSIN to research undocumented deaths and burials.
The Indian Residential School Survivors Crisis Line can be reached at 1-866-925-4419 for those in need of support.