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Feds pledge nearly $2.8M in search for graves connected to 2 Sask. residential schools

Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs (BATC) is receiving around $2.7 million of federal funding over three years to help research, document and honour the memory of those who attended Delmas Catholic Residential School and the Battleford Industrial School.

Tribal Chair Chief Cheryl Kahpeaysewat said in a news release that the searches will confirm what is known by all First Nations surrounding the Battlefords — that children lay in unmarked graves.

She said it's not known if the deaths were recorded or where the children are buried.

"The Battlefords is rich with history and until now, we have forgotten a very important part of history that has been kept secret for too long, the two Indian Residential Schools, Battlefords Industrial School (1883-1914) and St. Henri (Thunderchild 1901-1948). This is exciting news to be shared, we can start to heal within our Nations."

Sweetgrass First Nation Chief Lorie Whitecalf said the only child that has been found from Delmas was her great great grandfather, who was born in 1896 and died in 1910.

"We have no information regarding his death or how he became buried in the cemetery. I am relieved that the Canadian Government has finally taken the responsibility for the tragedy that our people endured and were forced to suppress.

"This funding will solidify what was known in our Nations and will be known by future generations. This new history is to be acknowledged across the country, the Acahkos Awasisak project will ensure that the truth will be told and recorded for educational purposes across the Nation."

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller said: “A very difficult job lies ahead for First Nations to research and explore the former sites of Delmas Catholic Residential School and the Battleford Industrial School. We recognize that this is an emotional and challenging time, as First Nations make efforts to seek the truth and heal – and we remain committed to supporting them in addressing the harms done.” Top Stories

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