Search for remains at former Canada school begins

“Phase one of the search of the grounds for missing children begins today.”

A new search for the remains of indigenous children...

This time, in Ontario, at the site of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School.

For 165 years, Canada's residential school system forcibly separated indigenous children from their families, subjecting them to starvation and physical and sexual abuse.

Under the system – which lasted until 1996 - some 150,000 children were separated from their homes... some, never to return.

Rebecca Jamieson is president of Canada’s Sixth Nations Polytechnic school:

"Today we're here to begin the search for more truth that will not only extend to more education and awareness and will hopefully bring some closure for families and communities who have been missing their loved ones for so long.”

Abuse survivor Sherlene Bomberry attended the Mohawk Institute for two years as a child.

She recalled the loneliness many students felt, but says a search for truth will help heal:

“It'll bring closure for a lot of our people, a lot of our older ones. A lot of them took their secrets and pain to the grave, right?"

The search comes months after the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found at the site of a former residential school for indigenous children in British Columbia.

Since that discovery in May – and while Canadians paid tribute to the young lives lost at memorials across the country – hundreds more unmarked burial sites have been found.

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has said, in a report, that the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide.

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