Sask. First Nation finds 'hundreds' of burial sites near former residential school

Canada Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day Today

The school operated from 1899 to 1997.

A Canadian indigenous group announced on Wednesday the "horrific and shocking discovery" of hundreds of unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school, just weeks after the discovery of other children's remains shook the country.

The Marieval Indian Residential School closed in 1997 after operating for almost 100 years. The statement did not specify numbers.

Leaders of the Cowessess First Nation and the Federation said they would hold a news conference on Thursday morning in which they would provide photos and videos of the site.

The Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan says it has found hundreds of unmarked burial sites near a former residential school.

The recent finding of what are believed to be 215 children's remains buried at the site of a Kamloops, B.C., residential school has magnified interest in the troubling legacy in both the US and Canada.

"I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely hard and emotional time", he said on Twitter.

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The premier said the money can be put towards whatever research is needed, including the use of ground-penetrating radar near suspected grave sites, as well as the creation or restoration of memorials.

"It is essential this process is led by Indigenous people and communities as we work to heal from the ongoing legacy of residential schools".

Many were subjected to ill-treatment and sexual abuse, and more than 4,000 died in the schools, according to a commission of inquiry that concluded Canada had committed "cultural genocide" against the indigenous communities. Marieval was run by the Roman Catholic Church until Cowessess First Nation took over its operations in 1981.

Canada's federal government apologised for the system in 2008.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis said he was pained, a statement dismissed by survivors.

Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk'emlups te Secwépemc First Nation said at the time the discovery was an "unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented at the Kamloops Indian Residential School".

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