UPDATE: THURSDAY: MAY 25, 2022: 7 PM: Chief Bissaillion has clarified some of the information in the original article … his statement follows:
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: A lack of information and cooperation between officials is making the process of beginning the search at the Spanish residential schools a difficult one.
Serpent River First Nation Chief Brent Bissaillion says the truth and reconciliation work for the Spanish residential boys’ and girls’ schools will take some time.
He says representatives from the First Nation met with Jesuit officials to ask for the records of the children who attended the school, but they were not forthcoming.
He adds the Truth and Reconciliation Commission does not have that information either.
Bissaillion points out the Spanish schools are believed to be the largest in Canada, which operated from 1913 to 1965, so what data is available is being correlated.
He adds the process is difficult since the investigation includes getting approvals to investigate and look at private property.
Anyone with historical photos, notes, or stories to share about the school is asked to call the Serpent River team.
Bissiallion did not give any timeline as to if or when a ground search will be carried out.
On the national level, Indigenous leaders gathered in Kamloops, B-C yesterday to mark the anniversary of the discovery of unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school.
It was a year ago this week that the area’s First Nation announced that 215 unmarked graves had been detected.
Band officials say they’re now preparing to exhume the remains to try to identify them.
Since the discovery, thousands more unmarked graves have been found at residential
school sites across the country.
Speaking at the ceremony, Governor-General Mary Simon committed to carrying forward the stories of the children who went missing.