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June 10, 2021
In 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created to discover what happened to Indigenous children who were taken from their families and forced to attend residential schools across the country.
In late May, the ugly reality was laid bare when the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc announced a grim discovery that 215 children in unmarked graves were found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Some of the children were as young as three years old. It had been in operation from 1890 to 1969 when the federal government took over administration from the Catholic Church to operate it as a residence for a day school, until finally closing in 1978. Up to 500 students would have been registered at the school according to the commission.
The commission estimates about 4,100 children died at the schools, but concluded that the true total could be much higher. The commission had estimated only 50 children died at the Kamloops school.