Fraser Valley (with files from Canadian Press/Stolo) – On Thursday September 21, Stó:lō Nation officials provided an update on their work into missing children and unmarked burials in the Fraser Valley at three former residential school sites.
Those sties according to Stolo, included unmarked graves at multiple sites associated with Three Former Residential Schools in S’ólh Temexw. A data base with being compiled to contained the vast amount of details in this search. Some 35,000 ( half of 70,000 that are known) documents of archival research. Information will be shared with families before they are made public.
Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre director David Schaepe and project manager Amber Kostuchenko presented the findings for Stó:lō in a Zoom call that went live through Social media.
Stó:lō Nation efforts will continue to focus on St. Mary’s Residential School in Mission, Coqualeetza Industrial Institute/Residential School in Chilliwack, All Hallows School in Yale, as well as the Coqualeetza Indian Hospital.
With certainty , 37 died at Coqualeetza Residential School (on the Sto:lo grounds)
96 died at Coqualeetza Indian Hospital (primary from TB)
5 died All Hallows School in Yale.
20 died at St.Mary’s
TOTAL 158 child deaths.
Sto:lo Chief Davis Jimmie was among a number of speakers and very tough swallowing of information. Jimmie was very concerned about the recent Trudeau Federal government shuffle that has stalled much of the information gathering on burial sites and what the TRC commission has been doing.
The investigation was launched after ground-penetrating radar located what are believed to be more than 200 graves at a former residential school in Kamloops in May 2021, prompting similar searches and findings in several provinces.
Most of the oral history that remains is pertaining to St Mary’s. Stories were shared during the September 21 presentation included pedophilia, and children burying other children and babies. Furnaces were used for cremation.
The ‘Taking Care of Children’ team has been studying archival, oral historical and on-site remote sensing work in search of identifiable unmarked graves.
The work that began in August 2021 is following a three-year plan.
The introduction statement says remote sensing and imaging technologies including drone-based radar surface mapping and photogrammetry, as well as ground-penetrating radar, would be used to search for unmarked graves.
Background from Stolo – Stó:lō Nation Chiefs’ Council (SNCC), under the leadership of Chief David Jimmie, President of the SNCC, has launched a broad-based and inclusive initiative to investigate potential unmarked graves and missing children related to three of the former Residential School sites within S’ólh Temexw: the former St. Mary’s, Coqualeetza, and All Hallows institutions in Mission, Chilliwack, and Yale. The project team will carry out archival, oral historical, and on-site remote sensing work in search of identifiable unmarked graves. We are also working with local Stó:lō First Nations including Sqwá, Sq’ewqéyl, and Ch’íyáqtel regarding unmarked burials known to have been relocated to each of their cemeteries from the Coqualeetza Grounds. Other major goals of our work are to identify Stó:lō children who were sent to Residential Schools – anywhere – and did not return home; as well as to support the commemoration and memorialization of Residential School Survivors and lost children within the Stó:lō communities and more broadly. For more about this work, please visit www.stolonation.bc.ca/residential-school-project-information.
To review the online presentation – https://fb.watch/ncw3-_n-k1/