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Lack of records makes search at Spanish residential schools a difficult process – one year anniversary …

UPDATE: THURSDAY: MAY 25, 2022: 7 PM: Chief Bissaillion has clarified some of the information in the original article … his statement follows:

The article has statements that make it seem that the Jesuits/ the current owners of the school are withholding information.
We are in fact having trouble with the former owners the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, and not the current owners the Maders or the Jesuits (who have been very forthcoming and ran the boy’s school).
Spanish is actually two separate schools run by two separate religious organizations. One is forthcoming with information (Jesuits) and the other is not.
We are actually working very closely with the current owners of the former Girls’ School, Mr. Rene Mader and his mother. We will be releasing a statement soon; asking that members of the public refrain from entering the school (as it’s unsafe in some ways and the Maders don’t want people to get hurt) and directing people to reach out to the communities if they have questions or want to visit the site. I worry about the elderly Ms. Mader who lives in the back behind the school alone and worry about strangers walking around her property.
I am available to discuss further if you’d like, but just hoping you can make the correction so as to not cause undue harm to Ms. Mader and the work we are doing with them.

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.

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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.

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