'This is a country built on genocide': Canadians appalled by 751 unmarked graves discovered at former Saskatchewan residential school

·4-min read

Cowessess First Nation has confirmed that 751 unmarked graves have been found on the grounds of the former Saskatchewan Marieval Indian Residential School.

"We are not asking for pity but we are asking for understanding," Chief Cadmus Delorme said at a press conference on Thursday. "We need time to heal and this country must stand by us."

The truth is there... Once truth is given and told and accepted then reconciliation will prevail.Chief Cadmus Delorme

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron called this a "crime against humanity" and "an assault on First Nation people."

"The only crime we ever committed as children was being born Indigenous," Chief Cameron said. "The world is watching Canada as we unearth the finding of genocide."

"We had concentration camps here, we had them here in Canada, in Saskatchewan, they were called Indian residential schools. Canada will be known as the nation who tried to exterminate the First Nations. Now we have evidence."

RELATED: 'We are not relics of the past': Canada needs more than a day to celebrate Indigenous Peoples

"The findings in Marieval and Kamloops are part of a larger tragedy," a statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reads

"They are a shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced – and continue to face – in this country. And together, we must acknowledge this truth, learn from our past, and walk the shared path of reconciliation, so we can build a better future."

Following the announcement of this discovery, people, both in Canada and internationally, took to social media to respond to the news.

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There also continue to be calls to cancel Canada Day after the discovery of the unmarked graves in Saskatchewan and the remains of 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School last month.

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The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available for anyone experiencing pain or distress invoked by recalling residential school trauma.

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